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Migrant Justice: ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy will continue for several weeks, Mayorkas says

By Shayna Greene

All the particulars must be sorted out.

The Supreme Court last week rejected a challenge to President Joe Biden’s effort to stop the previous administration’s “Remain in Mexico” program, which forced many asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for hearings before U.S. immigration judges.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Sunday told the hosts of both ABC’s “This Week” and CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the current policy will continue for the next few weeks.

“We need to wait until the Supreme Court’s decision is actually communicated to the lower court, to the federal District Court and the Northern District of Texas, and, once that occurs, the District Court should lift its injunction that is preventing us from ending the program,” Mayorkas told ABC’s Martha Raddatz.

Mayorkas said the “Remain in Mexico” program “has endemic flaws and causes unjustifiable human tragedy.”

In the meantime, migrants will continue to go through immigration enforcement proceedings, Mayorkas told CBS’ Margaret Brennan.

“Their proceedings will continue in immigration court, where they will pursue their claims for asylum. And if those claims are unsuccessful, they will be swiftly removed from the United States,” he said.

On both TV programs, Mayorkas reiterated the administration’s plea to migrants not to make the dangerous journey to the U.S. and pointed to the 53 migrants who died from extreme heat in a truck that transported them into San Antonio. Critics have argued the Biden administration is too welcoming to migrants.

When asked by Raddatz if it was true that the vehicle was waved through at a checkpoint because traffic was backed up, Mayorkas said “the facts are still under investigation” and that four individuals have been charged.

Mayorkas went on to say that smuggling operations have become “extraordinarily sophisticated,” beyond the human smuggling cases he prosecuted in the 1990s in Los Angeles.

He also said that the administration is working with Mexico and other Latin American countries to try to curb the influx of people risking their safety to travel to the border. In fiscal year 2022, the department has stopped more than 400 vehicles and rescued more than 10,000 migrants from criminal smuggling operations, Mayorkas said.

Raddatz also asked if Mayorkas thought the Biden administration’s strategy for the border was working.

“I think that we are doing a good job, we need to do better,” Mayorkas said.

He also pointed to the fact that Biden’s fiscal year 2023 budget calls for 300 more border patrol agents and that the department is hiring case processors.

“We are addressing this issue vigorously and aggressively to address the amount of — the number of encounters that we are experiencing at the southern border,” Mayorkas said.