U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Fascist “Remain in Mexico” Program
Horrors for Immigrants Escalate on Border

| revcom.us


Border crossings this summer are reaching record levels. The nearly 200,000 “encounters” the Border Patrol had with migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border in July was “the highest monthly total in more than two decades.”1 In response, the Biden administration has unleashed an arsenal of massive, heartless repression.

From February to July this year, the Biden administration expelled almost 600,000 people2 along the U.S.-Mexico border. In six months, Biden surpassed the fascist Trump/Pence regime’s record of 200,000 “expulsions” and 185,884 deportations during their last fiscal year!3

In late June, the Biden administration's Centers for Disease Control (CDC)--using the false pretext that refugees spread COVID--signed off on a policy of “expedited removal,” which enables Customs and Border Patrol to expel immigrant families captured at the border immediately, without a hearing before an immigration judge. A recent report from Human Rights Watch denounced how Biden has “weaponized public health authority” and used it to “inflict immense harm” on asylum seekers. It reported, “Families, adults, and children seeking U.S. protection continue to suffer due to the Biden administration’s use of the illegal expulsion policy, leading to at least 6,356 reports of kidnappings and attacks on asylum seekers and migrants [in Mexico].”4

More people than ever are dying in the deserts on the U.S. side of the border, and losing their lives during attempts to cross the line between U.S. and Mexico. Through July, the Border Patrol found the corpses of 383 migrants who died trying to cross the border so far this year, already more than the total for the entire year of 20205 (see sidebar). And the remains of countless others are still unfound.

Over the last few weeks, thousands of desperate migrants expelled from the U.S. have begun living in squalid and dangerous new camps in Mexico along its U.S. border. The largest of these, in Reynosa, across the Rio Grande from McAllen, Texas, was reported to have about 5,000 people as of August 16.6 1,500 miles away, another large encampment has sprung up in Tijuana, near San Diego. The New York Times described the Reynosa site as “filthy and foul-smelling, lacking... health and sanitation infrastructure... Assaults and kidnappings for ransom are commonplace.” Serious health problems are spreading through the camp. A nurse working to provide support told a reporter, “We see Covid, gastrointestinal ailments from lack of clean water and a ton of infections—eye, wound, bladder.” More people arrive every day, and more camps are springing up in other locations.

What’s the response of the Biden administration to this humanitarian crisis? Has it rushed medical support, food and clothing to the suffering people? Has it developed facilities for children and infants caught in such barbaric conditions, and provided pediatric social workers to help deal with their trauma? Has it worked to expedite reunions of long separated families? No. On August 27, Reuters reported that “For weeks, the U.S. government has been asking Mexico to clear the camps, in part because the sheer volume of people in them could jeopardize security if they made a sudden rush for the border, two officials familiar with the matter said.”7

Under Trump

Under Biden

Detained children covered with mylar at the border detention center in McAllen, Texas, July 2018. Photo: USBP/CBP

Detained children covered with mylar in South Texas, March 26, 2021. Photo: Congressman Henry Cuellar

Immigrants corralled under a bridge because of overcrowded detention centers, March 2019. Photo: AP

Immigrants in overcrowded detention center, South Texas, March 26, 2021. Photo: Congressman Henry Cuellar

Border Patrol sends migrants back to Honduras, June 21, 2018. Photo: AP

Border Patrol apprehends immigrants seeking asylum at Del Rio, Texas, June 16, 2021. Photo: AP

Challenging Biden’s Legitimacy—an Increasingly Open Conflict

On August 24, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that sided with fascist attorneys general of Texas and Missouri, who said that the Biden administration’s suspension of the “Remain in Mexico” policy must be overturned. This was the second time in less than a month that fascist dominated courts ruled against Biden’s immigration policy.8

Remain in Mexico (also known as MPP, or Migration Protection Protocols) is a program the fascist Trump/Pence regime began implementing in January 2019, and used for the next year to expel over 70,000 asylum seekers from the U.S.9 Although Biden disavowed MPP, he retained the use of another Trump measure—Title 42 “expulsions,” carried out under the pretext of preventing the spread of the COVID-19. (See sidebar for more on MPP and Title 42.)

Fascists, beginning with Trump, exulted in the Supreme Court decision. Trump issued a statement saying, “Other State Attorneys General should follow suit and go after every one of Biden’s unlawful border and immigration policies.”10 Fascists in Texas, Arizona, and elsewhere have also aggressively initiated new anti-immigrant measures in open defiance of federal law and policy. Among other things, the governors of Texas, and several non-border states have sent or pledged National Guard troops to the border to prevent what they call an “invasion” and “in defense of our sovereignty and territorial integrity.”11 This is a brazen challenge to the federal government, which, as designated by the U.S. Constitution, has control over immigration and border policies. Overturning Biden’s cancellation of MPP is a continuation and even escalation of the fascists’ refusal to recognize the legitimacy of Biden’s presidency.

Trump stopped using MPP to expel immigrants once his fascist regime took up Title 42 in massive numbers in January 2020. Biden never used MPP but took up Title 42 with gusto soon after taking office. The Republi-fascists see MPP as an important weapon in the anti-immigrant arsenal that is central to the fascism they strive for, as well as a way to continue and escalate their efforts to undermine the Biden administration. The Democrats think there are other forms for the U.S. to assert and maintain its domination of the border.

Both of them have no real answers other than carrying out massive and escalating repression.

Both of them represent the interests of the capitalist-imperialist system that feasts upon and destroys the lives of billions of people, worldwide.

Both are completely opposed to the interests of humanity.


1. Migrant encounters at U.S.-Mexico border are at a 21-year high, Pew Research Center, August 13, 2021.  [back]

2. Nationwide Enforcement Encounters: Title 8 Enforcement Actions and Title 42 Expulsions, U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  [back]

3. “Deportations of Migrant Families Spiked in in 2020,” Washington Post, December 23, 2020.  [back]

4. Human Rights Travesty: Biden Administration Embrace of Trump Asylum Expulsion Policy Endangers Lives, Wreaks Havoc, Human Rights First, August 2021.  [back]

5. “A Texas Sheriff’s Grim Task: Finding Bodies as Migrant Deaths Surge,” New York Times, August 24, 2021.  [back]

6. Reynosa migrant camp swells to 5,000; Preps underway as tropical storm threatens region, Border Report, August 16, 2021.  [back]

7. “U.S. urges Mexico to clear migrant camps near border,” Reuters, August 27, 2021.  [back]

8. On August 19, in a suit filed by the Attorneys General in Texas and Louisiana, a federal district court ruled that Biden administration instructions that immigration officers focus on what it deems threats to “national security” and “public safety”, and not pursue “low level offenders and non-criminals”, are not valid and can’t be enforced. It ruled that all immigrants without papers taken into custody by immigration officials “must be detained”. U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas, Victoria Division, document 79.  [back]

9. The Migrant Protection Protocols, Immigration Forum.  [back]

10. “Trump trolls Biden from the Bench,” Politico, August 25, 2021.  [back]

11. “Noem deploys State National Guard to Texas border,” Rapid City Journal, August 4, 2021.  [back]

12. U.S. “Remain in Mexico” Program Harming Children, Human Rights Watch.  [back]

13. A Guide to Title 42 Expulsions at the Border, American Immigration Council.  [back]

14. Nationwide Enforcement Encounters: Title 8 Enforcement Actions and Title 42 Expulsions, U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  [back]

U.S. agents at the U.S.-Mexico border force asylum seekers not from Mexico back into Mexico, violating international law on asylum. Here in an encampment in Reynosa, Mexico, a woman wakens amid hundreds of migrants expelled from the U.S. Photo: AP

What Are “Remain in Mexico” and Title 42?

Remain in Mexico (also known as MPP, Migrant Protection Protocols) was initiated by the fascist Trump/Pence regime in January 2019. It enabled U.S. agents at the U.S.-Mexico border to immediately force asylum seekers not from Mexico back into Mexico, where they are supposed to wait until their cases come before an immigration judge. This went completely against international laws on asylum. By December 2019, about 59,000 people, including at least 16,000 children,12 had been sent to Mexico under this program, almost all of them without any legal support. Many were forced to live in squalid, dangerous encampments in towns along the border. Others were sent to areas deep within Mexico, far from their homelands and far from the border where they were supposed to report at some point for an asylum hearing.

Remain in Mexico was a cornerstone of the fascist regime’s efforts to gut long-standing U.S. law and policy regarding asylum. And it was a key part of their efforts to completely shut down the border and attack immigrants in general. These efforts included measures like the “border wall” and intensified militarization of the border; the “Muslim ban”; ending Temporary Protected Status for hundreds of thousands of immigrants; escalation of attacks on and deportations of immigrants in the interior of the U.S.; family separation policies, locking children in cages; racist demonization and slander of immigrants and their homelands, and many others.

Shortly after the coronavirus pandemic began, the Trump/Pence regime started using a “public health measure” called Title 42 to turn back all immigrants, including potential asylum seekers, at the southern border. Originally enacted in 1944, Title 42 allows the government to expel migrants immediately without giving them a chance to apply for asylum or have any kind of hearing before a judge. When Biden came into office, he put an end to Remain in Mexico but retained use of Title 42 “expulsions.” By February 2021, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol had expelled over 520,000 people under Title 42.13 These expulsions have accelerated under Biden. During the first six months of his presidency, from February to July 2021, the U.S. expelled close to 600,000 people along the southern border under Title 42 provisions.14

Desert at the Arizona border. Photo: AP


The vast empty spaces of the U.S. Southwest are a death zone for immigrants trying to cross them. In June, the bodies of 43 people were found in a section of southern Arizona called the “desert of the dead.” The New York Times reported that through July this year, the Border Patrol found the bodies of 383 people along the border—already much more than the 253 found last year.

Still more bodies of immigrants are found by local police and sheriffs, or not found by anyone. They are the bodies of people like an Ecuadorian woman who was run over by an 18-wheeler when she tried to cross a freeway near Van Horn, Texas. Only her teeth and a few body parts were recovered. People like 16-year-old José Eduardo Martinez, on his way to a construction job in Utah... and Zeferina Mendoza, 33, and Rosalia Garcia Gonzalez, 34, on their way to work in California’s strawberry fields, when they were among the 13 people killed when the truck they were in collided with another vehicle. People like the man whose Chicago White Sox cap and owl tattoo enabled his sister to identify him and claim his body in Culberson County, Texas.

To anyone snoozing through the bloodbath taking place along the border, or putting their hopes in Biden and the Democrats to stop it—wake the hell up! Atrocities like these will continue to happen, as long as this capitalist-imperialist system remains—and it will get worse.



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