Attorney General Todd Rokita Thurday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to sustain the nation’s “Remain in Mexico” policy as a means of protecting states from the tidal wave of illegal immigrants flooding over the nation’s southern border.
He is leading a 19-state coalition fighting the Biden administration’s unlawful efforts to provide illegal immigrants free and easy entry into the United States.
“As I witnessed firsthand on behalf of all Hoosiers, we pay an enormous price for the Biden administration’s complete disregard of their duties at the southern border,” Attorney General Rokita said. “No one is above the law in America, and we are simply insisting that the Biden administration follow the law.”
On behalf of Hoosiers, Attorney General Rokita has traveled to the border twice during his administration to assess conditions and discuss policies with leaders from other states.
“The rule of law is the framework that enables American liberty to survive and thrive,” Attorney General Rokita said. “The situation at our southern border provides the perfect example of how going soft on the rule of law gives rise to anarchy, chaos, and ultimately the erosion of our freedom and safety.”
The Remain in Mexico rule — formally titled the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) — requires that immigrants without clear authorization to cross the southern border into the United States be required either to be detained or remain in Mexico while their cases are examined.
Implemented under President Donald Trump in January 2019, the rule successfully stemmed the tide of illegal immigrants pouring into the United States until the Biden administration illegally suspended the policy in January 2021.
From January 2019 through December 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) returned over 68,000 aliens to Mexico as part of MPP.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, DHS primarily used the public-health rule known as Title 42 (rather than MPP) to expel 102,234 aliens in 2020 and 111,174 in the beginning of 2021.
In January 2021, President Joe Biden illegally directed the DHS to ignore MPP. After MPP was suspended under Biden, border encounters surged from around 78,000 in January 2021 to about 178,000 in April 2021 and then to nearly 214,000 in July 2021.
In the last year, the federal government has released unprecedented numbers of aliens into the states — approximately 758,000 between January 2021 and February 2022.
Federal agencies are legally required to properly consider the consequences of their actions on states and their citizens before making policy changes. That consideration did not occur before DHS threw open the southern border to new hordes of illegal immigrants.
“The individual states and our taxpayers are the ones footing the bill for social services like health care, education and other government assistance for illegal immigrants,” Attorney General Rokita said. “The lawless crisis at the border makes every state a border state. We are the ones endangered by the rapid escalation of human trafficking, fentanyl, and other drugs and criminals sent by cartels to our communities.”
Former President Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy was designed to achieve greater compliance with longstanding immigration laws passed by Congress.
Those laws require that immigrants not clearly authorized to cross the Mexican border into the U.S. be either 1) detained, 2) required to stay in Mexico or 3) “paroled” into the United States based on narrowly defined case-by-case circumstances featuring “urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.”
The federal government has no authority, however, to simply issue paroles en masse to permit illegal immigrants to reside in the United States.
U.S. district and appeals courts already ruled that MPP must be reinstated until the Biden administration follows proper legal procedures to change it, including consideration of alternative policies and the impact on states.
Attorney General Rokita last year led a successful multistate brief supporting the conclusion eventually reached by the appellate court. He and the other attorneys general are now asking the Supreme Court to uphold the earlier decisions.