Florence Project and Kino Border Initiative Welcome the Supreme Court’s Decision in Biden v. Texas

“I’m fleeing two layers of persecution, first in Cuba and the second here in Mexico. But at this point Cuba has left my mind…I focus on what’s happening now, what I feel now. Mexico is unsafe and I have been able to see just how unsafe it is–I’ve been extorted, mistreated, I’ve had to go to the doctor, I’ve been beaten by the gangs…Everyday that I am here, my risk increases. I have been in Mexico nearly two years and I want to leave because it has taken its toll, physically and psychologically.” – Diosmany, who was displaced in Mexico for nearly two years due to Remain in Mexico, 2020.

Today, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed the Biden administration’s authority to end the Migrant Protection Protocols (also known as Remain in Mexico or RMX), a cruel and inhumane policy initially implemented by the Trump administration that forced asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their asylum claims were adjudicated. 

This is an enormous victory for the tens of thousands of people who have been denied their right to seek safety and to have a fair asylum process because of this policy. 

“As we celebrate this decision, we also honor the tens of thousands of people who were irrevocably harmed by this policy and others that block access to safety,” says Chelsea Sachau, Managing Attorney of the Florence Project’s Border Action Team. “Just this week, over 50 people were killed senselessly because deterrence based border policies forced them to take dangerous action just to try to find safety in the United States. President Biden, Congress, and the Courts have a moral obligation to ensure that all people seeking safety in the United States are able to access protection in a safe, humane, and dignified way. Ending the Remain in Mexico policy is a crucial first step towards honoring that moral obligation, and we hope that an end to all other policies that keep asylum seekers stranded in danger will not be far behind.” 

“It is always cause for celebration when an unjust and inhumane policy such as ‘Remain in Mexico’ ends,” says Pedro De Velasco, Director of Education and Advocacy at the Kino Border Initiative. “This is, without a doubt, an important hopeful step towards restoring access to asylum for thousands of people displaced by violence. However, the greatest barrier still left to overcome is Title 42, which continues to block access to humanitarian protections for so many families who so desperately need it.”

We call on the Biden administration to act swiftly and decisively in the wake of this decision. The Biden administration should immediately request the Supreme Court send the certified judgment to the Fifth Circuit on an expedited basis, so that they can end the Remain in Mexico program as soon as possible. We urge the administration to immediately halt enrollment in the Remain in Mexico so that not a single more person is further harmed by this policy. And finally, the Biden administration should begin to parole into the United States asylum seekers who are currently waiting in RMX, as well as those whose cases were unresolved or closed in the first iteration of the program. Today’s Supreme Court decision is just the first step in beginning to unravel the tremendous harm this policy caused tens of thousands of people, like Diosmany. We rejoice alongside asylum seekers in celebrating what we hope is the beginning of the end of this cruel and inhumane policy that is a stain on our country’s history and values.