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AG Nessel Joins Brief Filed in U.S. Supreme Court Supporting Effort to Terminate Harmful Immigration Policies, Protect Federal Parole Power

LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel joined a coalition of 18 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a lower court's decision requiring the federal government to continue the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the "Remain in Mexico" immigration policy. The MPP generally requires most asylum seekers arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border to return to Mexico while awaiting their asylum hearings in U.S. immigration court. Individuals returned to Mexico face dangers, including unsanitary living quarters, family separation, and physical violence. The Biden administration attempted to end this cruel and inhumane policy, but a Texas-based federal court ordered the administration to continue it.  

The coalition filed the brief in Biden v. Texas supporting the administration's efforts to terminate the MPP by asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Court of Appeals' decision. The coalition focuses on one particular aspect of the lower court's decision: its holding that the executive branch lacks the authority to exercise its "parole" power to allow asylum seekers into the United States, rather than detaining them or returning them to Mexico. The coalition argues that this decision runs contrary to decades of administrative practice and would have significant consequences for states and their residents, many of whom relied on parole to first enter the United States.  

"The Federal MPP policy is an ill-conceived hold-over from the previous administration that runs contrary to decades of practice by presidents of both parties," Nessel said. "Immigrants play a vital role in Michigan's economy. They pay almost $8 billion in state and local taxes and comprise 36,000 of the state's entrepreneurs. And Michigan ranked tenth among state refugee arrivals in 2019. Sending these asylum-seekers back to their home countries exposes them to unnecessary danger and hardship just because they want a better life for themselves and their families. I join my colleagues in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the Court of Appeals' decision to continue Migrant Protection Protocols." 

In the brief, the coalition explains that the executive branch has long exercised its discretion to parole individuals into the United States in a wide range of contexts, ranging from asylum seekers who present themselves at the U.S.-Mexico border, to individuals fleeing natural disasters, to family members of U.S. servicemen and women. The coalition argues that the Court of Appeals' decision threatens this longstanding exercise of enforcement discretion not only at the U.S.-Mexico border, but in other contexts as well. The attorneys general explain that affirming the lower court's order would impede the executive branch's authority to provide protection in the United States to individuals with compelling humanitarian needs.  

Additionally, the coalition argues that the decision would harm states and members of their communities, including those who have relied on parole programs in the past. Immigrants attend school, enlist in the military, fill important jobs that U.S.-born workers cannot or do not want to take, and add billions of dollars to federal, state and local economies by paying taxes and spending their income. The coalition argues that affirming the lower court's narrow reading of the parole power would have significant consequences for states, many of whose residents first entered the United States via some form of immigration parole and would thus harm their communities at large.   

Joining Attorney General Nessel in filing this brief are Illinois, California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont.