It has been a busy first few weeks for the Biden administration in setting its priorities for Immigration Reform.  Yesterday, the Biden administration asked the Supreme Court to cancel upcoming arguments on two cases that were very important to former president Donald Trump.  The first was a funding dispute over Trump’s border wall, and the second was Trump’s policy requiring asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their claims are considered.  President Biden has stopped construction of the wall and announced a review of the asylum program, called the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP).  The Biden administration argued to SCOTUS that until those reviews are completed, the court should suspend consideration of the lawsuits. The border wall case, now called Biden v. Sierra Club, is scheduled for argument Feb. 22. The immigration case is now called Pekoske v. Innovation Law Lab — David Pekoske is acting homeland security secretary — and is scheduled for March 1.  These requests were not a surprise, as the cases were granted last October just before the election, and likely would be reversed if Biden was elected because he was very opposed to both. But it is the first official action at the Supreme Court for the Biden administration.

Trump, who ran for office in 2016 promising that Mexico would pay for his plans to expand the border wall, obtained more than $15 billion in federal funds for the project, including $5 billion provided by Congress through conventional appropriations. The controversy was over the president tapping into Pentagon accounts for the remaining $10 billion, including the $2.5 billion transfer in 2019 that the 9th Circuit said was unlawful.  On his first day in office, Biden rescinded the emergency Trump had declared and said constructions on the border wall would stop.  In the other case, the Supreme Court in March granted the Trump administration’s emergency request to let it enforce its “Remain in Mexico” policy. It allows the Department of Homeland Security to return immigrants who cross at the southern border to Mexico while they wait for their claims to be heard.  The protocol, which took effect in January 2019, was a fundamental change to previous U.S. policy and was intended to block massive migration from Central America.  A federal judge blocked the initiative with a nationwide injunction, saying the policy contradicted the text of the Immigration and Nationality Act. A 9th Circuit panel upheld part of the ruling.  Biden’s Department of Homeland Security has stopped implementation of the protocols.

If you or a family member has been subjected to family separation, please don’t hesitate to call our office at 760-233-0800.