High court could free Biden to end Trump asylum policy
, 2022-04-25 02:00:00,
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Tuesday questioned lower-court orders that have blocked the Biden administration from ending a controversial Trump-era immigration program for asylum-seekers.
Questions from conservative and liberal justices during nearly two hours of arguments suggested that the court could free the administration to end the “Remain in Mexico” policy that forces some people seeking asylum in the U.S. to wait in Mexico for their hearings.
President Joe Biden suspended the program on his first day in office. After Texas and Missouri sued, lower courts required immigration officials to reinstate it, though the current administration has sent far fewer people back to Mexico than its predecessor.
The heart of the legal fight is whether, with far less detention capacity than needed, immigration authorities must send people to Mexico or have the discretion under federal law to release asylum-seekers into the United States while they await their hearings.
Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar, Biden’s top Supreme Court lawyer, told the justices the law does not contain a provision requiring migrants to be returned to Mexico and that there is a “significant public benefit” to releasing migrants who pass criminal background and other checks into the U.S., keeping detention beds free for more dangerous people.
Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh, at least one of whom the administration needs to win the case, suggested that the administration had a better argument than the states.
“You lose, right, if the government is right about what significant public interest is,” Barrett said in an exchange with Texas Solicitor General Judd Stone II.
Several justices also picked up on Prelogar’s point that no…
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