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AG Derek Schmidt: Appeals court backs states, including Kansas, to keep ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy in place

Release Date: Aug 20, 2021

TOPEKA – (August 20, 2021) – A federal appeals court yesterday rejected a request from the Biden administration that it be allowed to suspend and then terminate the Migrant Protection Protocols, commonly called the "Remain in Mexico" policy, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said. The appeals court instead sided with states including Kansas that argued the policy should continue in effect at least for now.

Last week, a federal district court in Texas ruled that the Biden administration failed to comply with federal law when it attempted to reverse the Trump administration’s policy that requires asylum seekers from third countries to remain in Mexico pending formal asylum proceedings. The district court’s ruling would reinstate the Trump-era policy. The Biden administration is appealing that decision and sought to stay the district court’s order during the appeal.

But Schmidt and attorneys general from 14 other states late Wednesday filed a brief backing Texas and Missouri, the states that first brought the lawsuit challenging the new federal policy, and opposing the Biden administration’s motion to stay. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit yesterday ruled for the states, requiring the federal government to keep the 'Remain in Mexico policy' in effect while it appeals the district court ruling.

“This policy change ordered by President Biden on his first day in office is one of several that have invited the chaos at our southern border,” Schmidt said. “This ill-considered policy change was rushed, and the federal district court agreed it was adopted in violation of law. The federal judiciary is insisting the administration continue to obey the law while the courts sort this out."

The Remain in Mexico policy “has proven to be a vital tool in the fight against illegal immigration and has yielded both a fairer and more operationally effective means of processing aliens,” the attorneys general wrote in their brief. “Before its implementation, each year thousands of aliens were paroled in the United States while awaiting a hearing—a process that often took several years.”

A copy of the states' brief filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit can be found at https://bit.ly/2XF790j. A copy of the court's decision denying the stay is available at https://bit.ly/3y7a7Hg

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News releases issued prior to 2011 are available through an archive hosted by the Kansas State Library.