During his first presidential campaign, former President Donald Trump ran on the promise to build a wall along the southern border to protect Americans and the rule of law. He declared a national emergency at the border to free up billions to begin construction on the wall. After President Trump was thwarted in this attempt, he announced he’d divert a smaller amount in military construction funding for the wall.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit temporarily lifted an injunction against construction, pending an appeal on the issue. The Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration could use military funds to begin building part of the border wall.
The administration also enacted a policy (also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy) to withhold asylum from illegal aliens who’ve entered a different country first and failed to claim asylum there. The Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security could begin enforcing the asylum restriction nationwide while the case was still pending.
As expected, President Joe Biden suspended border wall construction and the Remain in Mexico policy.
The Sierra Club, the ACLU, and others had filed lawsuits under the previous administration to stop these policies, and the Supreme Court is set to hear the cases. The Hill reported that the Biden administration has asked the high court to cancel upcoming arguments:
The request follows day-one efforts by the new administration to reverse course on each, potentially making moot the Feb. 22 and March 1 hearings.
In both cases, the filings noted that the challengers had agreed to the delays posed by the Biden administration.
“We are relieved to see a pause on wall construction while the Biden administration decides whether to defend Trump’s illegal and disastrous national emergency declaration,” Gloria Smith, a managing attorney at the Sierra Club, said in a release.
The Biden administration’s apparent strategy is to avoid unfavorable rulings in the cases, so it can rescind the previous policies and enact new ones.