Texas and Missouri sue Biden administration to reinstate ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy

Border Report Tour

States allege 'arbitrary and capricious' decision-making for 'irresponsible border security'

Unaccompanied migrant youth wait to board a U.S. Border Patrol bus after being apprehended on April 6. 2021, in LaJoya, Texas. (Border Report Photo/Sandra Sanchez)

McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Monday announced that Texas and Missouri have filed a lawsuit demanding that the Biden administration reinstate the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program to reduce the influx of migrants at the Southwest border.

President Donald Trump implemented MPP, also known as the “Remain in Mexico” program, which forced migrants the wait out the asylum process in Mexico. Several Republican lawmakers who have traveled and toured the South Texas border in the past few weeks have also called for the policy to be put back in place. President Joe Biden halted the policy when he took over the White House.

“President Biden could immediately remedy the influx of crime pouring across our border by reinstating the Migrant Protection Protocols. Dangerous criminals are taking advantage of the lapse in law enforcement and it’s resulting in human trafficking, smuggling, a plethora of violent crimes, and a massive, unprecedented burden on state and federal programs for which taxpayers must foot the bill,” Paxton said in a statement.

The lawsuit was filed against: Biden; Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and his agency; Acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Troy Miller; Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Tae Johnson; Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Tracy Renaud, and Renaud’s agency. It contends that “MPP changed the incentives for economic migrants with weak asylum claims, and therefore reduced the flow of aliens—including aliens who are victims of human trafficking—to the southern border.”

It also alleges that Biden acted with “unexplained and inexplicable” reasons to temporarily halt the program in which nearly 70,000 asylum-seekers were forced to wait in Mexico during their U.S. immigration proceedings.

“The result of this arbitrary and capricious decision has been a huge surge of Central American migrants, including thousands of unaccompanied minors, passing through Mexico in order to advance meritless asylum claims at the U.S. border,” the lawsuit contends.

This arbitrary and capricious decision has been a huge surge of Central American migrants, including thousands of unaccompanied minors, passing through Mexico in order to advance meritless asylum claims at the U.S. border.”

Lawsuit against Biden administration to reinstate MPP

The suit alleges that Texas communities are financially suffering “as organized crime and drug cartels prey on migrant communities and children through human trafficking, violence, extortion, sexual assault, and exploitation.”

“We cannot allow this lawlessness to destroy our communities any longer. President Biden must act,” Paxton said.

A group of adult migrants are seen being apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol agents before dawn on April 8, 2021, in Hidalgo, Texas. Most were from Honduras. (Border Report Photo/Sandra Sanchez)

Missouri joined the lawsuit saying that illegal migration north affects interior states. It also called current immigration policies “irresponsible border-security policies that invite and encourage human traffickers.”

“With its intersection of major interstate highway routes, Missouri is a major destination and hub for human trafficking,” the lawsuit says.

Aside from charges that the Biden administration acted “arbitrary and capricious,” the lawsuit also charges that the federal government failed to provide notice to and consult with Texas.

Mayorkas has traveled several times to the Texas-Mexico border recently, including a visit last week to McAllen and El Paso. He has not spoken to the media but maintained in a recent tweet that the Biden administration is working to provide a “humane” process for applying for asylum in the United States.

Several Republican-led congressional delegations have called on Vice President Kamala Harris, as Border Czar, to visit the border herself and to suggest real-time solutions.

On Monday, U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, a Democrat from McAllen, brought a bipartisan delegation of the Problem Solver’s Caucus to tour the South Texas border. After a weekend tour of the region, they told media during a news conference, Gonzalez suggested implementing a processing facility on Mexico’s southern border, or Guatemala’s northern border, to prevent thousands of migrants from crossing the Rio Grande and overwhelming U.S. Border Patrol agents.

Establishing such facilities would require the cooperation of Mexico and likely Guatemalan governments. The Biden administration has not, so far, commented on such a proposal

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