Supreme Court justices gave a mostly skeptical hearing on Tuesday to the Biden administration’s attempt to overturn President Trump’s policy requiring tens of thousands of asylum seekers to wait in Mexico until their cases are heard.
Several governors in court said they agreed with Texas attorneys and Trump-appointed judges who ruled that US immigration officials may not allow these immigrants to enter this country. They cited a provision in the 1996 law that asylum seekers “must be detained” while their claims are being processed.
Attorney General Elizabeth Prilugar, representing the administration, said there was “no way” the government could detain so many asylum seekers for months or years. She told the court that there were 220,000 migrants at the border in one month last year, but only 32,000 could be detained.
She asked the Supreme Court to overturn orders issued by a Texas judge and clear the way for overturning Trump’s alleged “stay in Mexico” policy.
Traditionally, the Court has given the executive broad authority to enforce immigration laws, including to reverse the policies of previous administrations.
But it is not clear that the Biden administration will win in its plan to repeal Trump’s tough immigration policies.
Immigrant rights advocates have argued that Trump’s policy has been cruel and inhumane. They said it forced tens of thousands of people from Central America to live in appalling conditions prone to violence and abuse. Upon taking office, President Biden said he intended to repeal Trump’s policy.
But lawyers for Texas and Missouri filed a lawsuit and last year obtained nationwide judge orders that required the new administration to maintain Trump’s previous policy.
In August last year, judges by 6-3 votes rejected an emergency appeal to overturn the judge’s order. There was no clear sign during Tuesday’s argument that the majority would now.
The case was Biden v. Texas, and the verdict will be issued by late June.
This story originally appeared Los Angeles Times.