The Supreme Court has voted to cancel two policies from former President Trump related to immigration. The border wall and the "remain in Mexico" program have been highly controversial elements of the Trump administration's stance on immigration. By canceling the orders, they will likely be dismissed entirely. So, what does this mean for immigrants and their families?
The border wall was a key element to Trump-era immigration and the main selling point during his 2016 campaign for President. As stated by the Trump administration, the wall's purpose would be to impede immigrants from Mexico, specifically from crossing the border illegally. Construction of the wall would fill in gaps that are vulnerable to illegal immigration.
A 2017 evaluation found that out of the 2,000 total miles of the border, only 650 miles had fencing. Construction of the wall involves erecting sections of metal plates and steel posts ranging in height. So far, the cost of the wall has amounted to over $15 billion.
President Biden has promised to stop construction on the wall as soon as possible. His plan for the border focuses on using technology to improve screening at key entry points. However, it is unclear how the Biden administration will handle construction contracts in progress under Former President Trump.
Remain in Mexico Program
While the wall has been a hallmark of Trump-era immigration policies, the Remain in Mexico program is also a key component of the former President's plan for the future of immigration.
Essentially, the program officially referred to as the Migrant Protection Protocols requires prospective immigrants to wait in Mexico for their scheduled appointment in a U.S. immigration court. Since the protocols were introduced, over 60,000 migrants have been sent back over the border to Mexico.
However, the Supreme Court did not make a final ruling on the Migrant Protection Protocol's legality. Now that the Court has ruled to cancel the protocol, the Biden administration can move forward with new immigration reforms. What does it mean to cancel a policy? How will this affect immigration going forward?
Moving Ahead with Biden's Plan for Immigration
By canceling plans for the wall and the Migrant Protection Protocols, the Supreme Court will not argue over them, essentially making them dead. This means these policies will no longer be enforced by the federal government or have power in the eyes of the Court.
For those immigrants who were sent back to Mexico under the MPP, this could mean that they may be able to return to the U.S. under the Biden administration. The hope for many immigrants is that the new changes will allow them to reunite with their families and pursue a more efficient pathway to citizenship.
As construction on the wall ceases, the Biden administration will take this time to evaluate Trump's policies to make changes as they deem necessary.
This will involve evaluating several things like:
- The legality of wall funding
- Administrative and/or contractual consequences of stopping construction
- Pausing funds related to the wall
- A detailed report of the contracts associated with the construction of the wall
Overall, the main takeaway from the Supreme Court's decision is that while there may be pushback from legislators in Congress and the Senate, the Court could be an unexpected ally to the Biden administration as we move forward.
Until the Biden Administration's policies take effect, immigration to the U.S. is enormously complex, even more so now that we are in flux between Trump-era regulations and Biden-era proposals. It is important to keep track of developments in immigration reform, and immigrants who need immediate help with their status, visa, or other issues related to the immigration process should consult a qualified attorney.
Speak with an attorney at Sintsirmas & Mueller Co. L.P.A. today.