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Threading the MPP ("Remain in Mexico") Needle: Not Rocket Science, But Tricky for Biden

September 13, 2021 (1 min read)

Rebecca Beitsch, The Hill, Sept. 12, 2021

"A string of recent court decisions has put President Biden in a predicament: Re-implement his predecessor's Remain in Mexico policy in good faith or turn to Trump-era tactics to dismantle the divisive immigration rule. ... [T]he government does not have to restart MPP overnight and that it has the discretion to allow some migrants to enter the country to pursue asylum claims without holding them in immigration detention.  They could choose to run with “Trump lite,” said Ahilan Arulanantham, co-director of the Center for Immigration Law & Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law.  “The threshold question is a political one, it's not actually legal one. Do we want to stick to the plan that we started when we ended MPP at the beginning and that President Biden promised to do at the debates and all that?” he said.  “Or do we want to now change course and adopt a policy that is the Trump policy or something closer to the Trump policy than what we had originally said we were going to do?” ... “If the administration really wants the policy outcome, it could certainly rewrite the memo. The Muslim ban was written three times because the administration wanted the policy outcome. They wrote in one way, it got struck down. They write it again, it goes to the Supreme Court. They write it again, each time curing whatever defects the court is describing in order to make it harder to attack. And surely you could do that here, and the court decisions give you the road map for how to do it. It’s not rocket science,” Arulanantham said. ... Arulanantham said the administration's hesitation to do so is likely significant.  “There’s one explanation staring you in the face for why they don't want to do that. And that has to be that they genuinely I think are undecided about whether they actually want to get rid of MPP,” he said."