(CNN) – A federal judge in Texas ordered the Biden administration to revive a Trump-era border policy that required migrants to remain in Mexico until the date of their hearing in a United States immigration court.
Shortly after President Joe Biden took office, he ended the policy known as “stay in Mexico,” which resulted in thousands of non-Mexican migrants having to wait in Mexico for their immigration hearings, often in dangerous conditions. .
In April, the state of Texas and the state of Missouri sued the Biden administration, arguing that reversing the policy led to an increase in migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border that imposed costs on the states.
A couple of months later, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas formally ended the policy in a June memo, and the administration then worked to admit migrants who had been subject to it.
But on Friday night, Trump-appointed Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk prevented the administration from implementing that memorandum, although he postponed his order for seven days “so that the federal government would have time to seek emergency assistance at the appeal level.”
Kacsmaryk said the termination of the policy by the Biden administration violated the Administrative Procedure Act, or APA, a law that dictates what procedures agencies must follow to implement certain policies.
Specifically, the judge said Mayorkas “did not consider several of the main benefits” of the policy known as Migrant Protection Protocols in his June memorandum, nor did he address the increase in border crossings.
Kacsmaryk also concluded that one of the key reasons the memo provided for ending the policy was arbitrary, in violation of the APA, which prohibits agencies from taking “arbitrary” and “capricious” actions.
Trump’s policy, which was an unprecedented departure from previous protocols, was put into effect in 2019 by a memo from then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. An estimated 68,000 migrants were returned to Mexico under the policy.
For people, that meant waiting months, if not years, in miserable conditions and under threat of extortion, sexual assault, and kidnapping.
The APA, cited in Friday’s ruling, is a law that the Trump administration’s rivals used to block several of its key moves. It was the basis for the Supreme Court’s decision to halt the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program by the Trump administration in 2020, as well as the Supreme Court’s decision to block the question of Trump’s census citizenship.
More recently, it was the law that was the basis for a decision by a judge in Texas last month who ruled that DACA itself was illegal.
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