The Biden administration’s decision to halt former President Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy for asylum seekers is making the situation at the border worse and allowing criminals to slip into the country undetected, Texas and Missouri said in a lawsuit.
The Department of Homeland Security’s January suspension of the 2019 program, which forced thousands of U.S.-bound migrants to stay in Mexico during their immigration proceedings, violated federal law by failing to weigh alternatives to the plan or consider its impact on states, according to a suit filed Tuesday in federal court in Amarillo, Texas.
Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols were put in place to “address the migration crisis by diminishing incentives for illegal immigration, weakening cartels and human smugglers, and enabling DHS to better focus its resources on legitimate asylum claims,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and his Missouri counterpart, Eric Schmitt, said in the complaint.
The Republican-led states claim human traffickers and smugglers are taking advantage of the “lapse” in border enforcement and putting communities at risk. They allege the halting of the Trump program pending a review by the Department of Homeland Security violated the Administrative Procedure Act because it was an “arbitrary and capricious” agency action.
“Due to pending litigation, DHS cannot comment at this time,” the Department of Homeland Security said in an email.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies are among groups that challenged the Trump administration policy last year.
They argued the Trump rule put asylum seekers in “grave danger” by creating a crisis on the Mexican side of the border, exposing migrants to abuse by organized criminal elements and corrupt authorities.
Across the country, Republican governors and state attorneys general are suing to block President Joe Biden’s policy plans, rewriting a legal strategy Democrats used against Trump.