MATAMOROS, TAMAULIPAS — When the Supreme Court effectively revived a cornerstone of Trump-era migration policy late last month, it looked like a major defeat for President Joe Biden.
After all, Biden had condemned the policy — which requires asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico — as “inhumane” and suspended it on his first day in office, part of an aggressive push to dismantle former President Donald Trump’s harshest migration policies.
But among some Biden officials, the Supreme Court’s order was quietly greeted with something other than dismay, current and former officials said: It brought some measure of relief.
Before that ruling, Biden’s steps to begin loosening the reins on migration had been quickly followed by a surge of people heading north, overwhelming the southwest border of the United States. Apprehensions of migrants hit a two-decade high in July, a trend officials fear will continue into the fall.
Concern had already been building inside the Biden administration that the speed of its immigration changes may have encouraged migrants to stream toward the United States, current and former officials said.
In fact, some Biden officials were already talking about reviving Trump’s policy in a limited way to deter migration, said the officials, who have worked on immigration policy but were not authorized to speak publicly about the administration’s internal debates on the issue. Then the Supreme Court order came, providing the Biden administration with the political cover to adopt the policy in some form without provoking as much ire from Democrats who reviled Trump’s border policies.
Now, the officials say, they have an opportunity to take a step back, come up with a more humane version of Trump’s policy and, they hope, reduce the enormous number of people arriving at the border.
“This desire to reverse Trump’s policies and to do so quickly has landed the Biden administration in this predicament, which was not unpredictable and is very sad to watch,” said Alan Bersin, who served as commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection under President Barack Obama.
Source: El Pais