(USA Features) The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday the Trump administration could keep a controversial asylum policy in place for the time being, overruling an appeals court that ordered the program dissolved.
Justice Department lawyers had argued that the Migrant Protection Protocols, otherwise known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy requiring asylum seekers to wait south of the border for their hearings was necessary to prevent a “rush” to the border following the lower court’s ruling last week.
In addition, they argued that the MPPs were a vital tool in helping end last year’s border crisis.
The justices ruled that the MPPs could remain in place to give the Trump administration time to argue the case before the high court later this year.
Department of Homeland Security officials worried that the reversal of the policy by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals would result in a crush of migrants at the border at a time when officials in several states as well the federal government are concerned about the spread of coronavirus.
DHS officials say that people from more than 100 countries have already been captured trying to sneak into the country this year alone.
“Without proper precautions, which can only happen through orderly, lawful migration, the virus threatens to spread rapidly,” an official told The Washington Times. “Any halting of MPP would exacerbate this threat.”
Critics said the decision puts migrants forced to remain in Mexico in danger.
“The court of appeals unequivocally declared this policy to be illegal. The Supreme Court should as well,” said Judy Rabinovitz, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union. “Asylum seekers face grave danger and irreversible harm every day this depraved policy remains in effect.”
The Supreme Court ruling is the latest in a string of decisions that have salvaged much of President Trump’s border security policies. That said, justices ruled 8-1 to grant the government’s request, with only Justice Sonia Sotomayor rejecting it.