(KERO) — Thousand of asylum seekers who have been waiting at the southern border will soon be able to wait inside the United States. Thursday the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the so-called "Remain in Mexico" policy that came into effect under former President Donald Trump.
The "Remain in Mexico" or Migrant Protection Protocol as it is officially called has been in place twice. The first time former President Trump’s administration argued it was necessary to stop the spread of COVID. Then again under President Joe Biden's administration after they were unable to remove it due to lower court rulings.
Now the decision by the Supreme Court means the thousands of migrants who have been in shelters along the southern border in Mexico will be able to settle in the U.S as they wait for their cases to be processed.
"The United States is a signatory to international charter and among those is the requirement that we allow people to come in and apply for asylum," explains Win Eaton, a senior lawyer and certified immigration specialist with Eaton and Associates. "So this runs contrary to so many of the values that historically have been part of the fabric of the United States of America and western civilized nations."
Aside from straying from tradition, associate professor of political science at CSUB & 23ABC political analyst Ivy Cargile points out that the policy had not been used fairly across the board.
"For those Ukrainians who have gone to the U.S-Mexico border, there have been special exemptions made for them to where they have shelter, they have resources, in part funded by the United States. They have been allowed in. Everybody else has not been allowed in and again this is something that is happening in the southern border not the Canada border."
She points to predominantly Haitian and Central American immigrants feeling violence from their country who have been stuck in Mexico since the program went into place.
The most recent data from the Department of Homeland Security shows a little more than 4,000 asylum seekers at the southern border have been sent to wait in Mexico since December. They are now expected to have the ability to wait in the U.S.
On average asylum cases take 1 to 3 years to process but because interviews were halted during COVID, the backlog slowed everything down.
"We need to make sure that the system is working. Right now the system is short on resources. It is short on immigration judges," says Eaton.
Although he says removing the Migrant Protection Protocol goes more along with the historical American tradition, the immigration system needs more judges to speed up reviewing the cases. Eaton also adds another solution to the crisis would be to increase the number of skilled-worker visas available.
And regardless, both Eaton and Cargile agree there is still a lot of work left to do
"This really does once again highlight that we need comprehensive immigration reform," says Cargile.
As for those who are currently awaiting their case proceedings in the United States, Eaton says he does not expect any changes on their situations.