Though the Biden administration notched an increasingly rare win at the U.S. Supreme Court last week when the justices paved the way for a permanent end to the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy, a dissenting opinion from one conservative justice blasted the president for his lawlessness when it comes to immigration, as Fox News reports.
The high court on Thursday rejected the position of a number of Republican-led states and found that the current administration has the authority to end a policy, first implemented by former President Donald Trump, which compelled asylum-seekers to remain outside the U.S. while awaiting adjudication of their claims, as CBS News explained.
Chief John Roberts penned the 5-4 opinion that sided with the Biden administration, while Alito and Justice Amy Coney Barrett wrote separate dissenting opinions in the case, parts of which earned the signatures of fellow conservative Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch.
In his dissent, Alito maintained that by declining to enforce the aforementioned Trump policy, the Biden administration was intentionally contravening federal law mandating the detention or deportation – not the release – of migrants.
Citing recent statistics from the migrant surge seen during Biden’s tenure, Alito wrote, “In fiscal year 2021, the Border Patrol reported more than 1.7 million encounters with aliens along the Mexican border.”
“When it appears that one of these aliens is not admissible, may the Government simply release the alien in this country and hope that the alien will show up for the hearing at which his or her entitlement to remain will be decided? Congress has provided a clear answer to that question, and the answer is no,” Alito continued.
“By law, if an alien is ‘not clearly and beyond a doubt entitled to be admitted,’ the alien ‘shall be detained for a [removal] proceeding,’” the justice declared, describing the relevant statutory language passed by the legislature.
Given that the size of the influx of migrants seen in recent years and the inability of the federal government to detain that volume of people, Alito says, the Immigration and Nationality Act says it “may return the alien to that territory pending a [removal] proceeding” or may parole the aliens “only on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or a significant public benefit.”
The administration’s practice of releasing into the country an untold numbers of ultimately deportable aliens, Alito said, is a violation of “the clear terms of the law,” but the majority disagreed, finding that the statutory language affords the type of enforcement discretion claimed by the government and handing a disappointing defeat to those hoping for a long-term continuation of a highly effective Trump policy that Biden so destructively tossed aside.