Today the U.S. Supreme Court denied the government’s request for stay in Biden v. Texas, allowing a lower court decision ordering the Biden administration to revive the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) to stand. The administration had formally terminated MPP in June – fulfilling the president’s Day One promise to end the policy, in recognition of the profound suffering it caused people seeking asylum and communities living along the U.S.-Mexico border. The administration now must do everything in its power to put an end to MPP once and for all.
MPP was an illegal program devised by the Trump administration in a shameful attempt to shut our doors on people escaping persecution. People placed in MPP were forcibly returned to northern Mexico to await their U.S. court dates in dangerous border cities, with virtually no access to legal assistance. Those sent to Mexico had little chance to prepare their claims for protection, and many were unable to safely return to the border for their asylum hearings. Families languished in squalid encampments, where they became easy targets for criminal groups. Human rights investigators documented over 1,500 violent attacks on people returned to Mexico under MPP. These volatile border cities
Today the Supreme Court denied a stay of lower court rulings ordering the Biden administration to restart MPP. The lower court decisions were rife with legal errors and premised upon unsupported factual findings which accepted at face value false claims made by the states of Texas and Missouri that MPP effectively deterred the arrival of asylum seekers and discouraged baseless claims. These assertions had no basis in fact, as CGRS detailed in an amicus brief filed at the high court yesterday
Even after MPP was imposed, life-threatening violence in their home countries continued to force people to seek refuge at the U.S. border. The program just stacked the deck against them, eliminating any semblance of fairness in the asylum process and resulting in many wrongful denials of protection. When CGRS and our partners brought lawsuits against the policy, at every step the federal courts found MPP to be in blatant violation of our domestic and international legal obligations to people fleeing persecution.
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling cannot be squared with the controlling law or the facts on the ground. MPP was not a lawful policy, and it did not accomplish any legitimate policy objectives,” CGRS Director Karen Musalo said today. “The Biden administration was right to end MPP and it must do all that it can to discontinue a policy that has put asylum seekers in grave danger and made a mockery of our legal obligations to protect refugees.”
Melanie Nathan © October 24, 2016
African Human Rights Coalition