Corrections & clarifications: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of the faculty co-director of the Center for Immigration Law and Policy at UCLA. He is Ahilan Arulanantham.
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden secured a victory to end one policy that keeps migrants in Mexico while they awaited their asylum court hearing. Now, the administration could move to end another Trump-era immigration policy.
The Supreme Court’s ruling that allows the Biden administration to end the Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as “Remain in Mexico,” could make legal injunctions on other immigration cases illegal, some legal experts are arguing.
Title 42, a public health order issued by the Trump administration, allows Customs and Border Protection to expel migrants to Mexico or back to their home countries to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in holding facilities.
“The Biden administration must now move swiftly to terminate ‘Remain in Mexico’ and establish the legal framework to unwind Title 42,” Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, said in a statement. “The United States has a legal and moral obligation to protect asylum-seekers.”
The Department of Homeland Security said in a statement that the agency welcomes the Supreme Court's decision and “will continue our efforts to terminate the program as soon as legally permissible.”
The department added it will continue “to enforce our immigration laws at the border and administer consequences for those who enter unlawfully" and will also continue to enforce the court-mandated Title 42.
Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., said that he will work with the Biden administration to change Trump-era policies.
“May this decision be the first step towards ending our federal government’s use of short-term deterrence strategies that rely on cruelty to keep asylum seekers out of the United States,” Menendez said.
He added that it’s part of the United States’ commitments to be a “beacon of hope and opportunity for those fleeing from violence and persecution.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was going to end Title 42 on May 23. However, a judge issued an injunction days before blocking the Biden administration from ending the policy. The administration has since appealed the ruling.
There have been record levels of migrants coming to the United States southern border.
In May, U.S. Customs and Border Protection encountered 239,416 migrants. CBP said that 25% of those encounters had been of individuals who have previously tried to cross the border at least one time.
Of the total encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border, 42% of migrants were expelled under Title 42.
Supreme Court ruling: Biden may end Trump-era 'remain in Mexico' policy for migrants
Marielena Hincapié, executive director at National Immigration Law Center, which advocates for immigrants’ rights headquartered in Los Angeles, said the Supreme Court’s decision puts the power back to the executive branch to make decisions on immigration.
With this winning decision, Hincapié said it was urgent the administration press onward to end any "other cruel and illegal policies that are endangering the lives of people for simply seeking safety and freedom in our country.”
Some experts believe the Supreme Court’s decision creates legal precedent for the Biden administration to file a motion to end the Title 42 injunction.
Ahilan Arulanantham, professor and faculty co-director of the Center for Immigration Law and Policy at University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, said that under the Supreme Court’s ruling, there is no way that the injunction on Title 42 can remain in place.
“That order is illegal under the Supreme Court's decision today,” Arulanantham said. “The ball is entirely in the Biden administration to tell the district court in the case in Louisiana, that this injunction is now illegal and they want the court to rescind it.”
In fact, Arulanantham noted the administration could appeal other immigration related injunctions, such as the one that blocks enforcement priorities that the administration put in place to address backlog in the system.
“They have a lot of power now to retake control of our immigration policy if they choose to use it,” he said.
Could Supreme Court's ruling impact immigration reform talks?
Some Republicans have been critical of the Supreme Court’s decision.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, noted that the decision could allow Biden to eliminate Title 42, a policy the senator supports.
“Disappointed in SCOTUS ruling allowing Biden to eliminate Title 42,” Cruz wrote in a tweet. “I pray he makes the right decision and keeps Title 42, given our unprecedented border crisis. South Texas is seeing the impact of an open border already. Removing Title 42 would be disastrous.”
It’s unclear how the court’s decision will impact renewed talks about immigration reform on Capitol Hill.
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said talks on immigration reform restarted with Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., after at least 53 migrants died in tractor-trailer in a supposed human trafficking case. A bipartisan group of lawmakers have been meeting over several weeks to find a pathway forward on immigration reform.
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Republican lawmakers have been critical of Biden rolling back policies that limit migration. The GOP and some Democrats have previously advocated for more security along the U.S.-Mexico border.
With this ruling, some Democrats are advocating to move forward now to pass immigration reform.
Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Calif., and chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, called on Republican senators to “stand up and help us get comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship across the finish line.”
“Fixing our broken immigration system will help us improve border efficiency, keep families together, and restore dignity and humanity in our asylum process,” he said.
Reach Rebecca Morin at Twitter @RebeccaMorin_
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden can end 'Remain in Mexico.' Title 42 should be next, Democrats say