The Supreme Court handed President Donald Trump a win on Wednesday with a court order giving his administration a judicial green light to continue enforcement of its "Migrant Protection Protocols," otherwise known as the "remain in Mexico" policy for the time being.
Last week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld a lower court's decision blocking the policy from going into effect in Arizona and California — the two border states within its geographical jurisdiction.
That injunction was set to go into effect on Thursday, before the Supreme Court stepped in this week.
"The application for stay presented to Justice Kagan and by her referred to the Court is granted, and the district court's April 8, 2019 order granting a preliminary injunction is stayed pending the timely filing and disposition of a petition for a writ of certiorari," the Supreme Court said in a Wednesday order. That means that the lower court's order blocking the policy won't go into effect while the related lawsuit works its way through the federal courts.
The order also listed Justice Sonia Sotomayor as the only dissenter from the court's decision.
Under the protocols, which were announced in December 2018 as an effort to combat the southern border crisis, non-Mexican asylum-seekers who present themselves at the southern border are required to wait in Mexico while their immigration proceedings are sorted out.
Opponents argue that the policy endangers migrants by making them wait out their immigration cases in unsafe conditions in Mexico.
"Reports of what many asylum-seekers face once sent to these cities are grim," reads a report from the American Civil Liberties Union. "Human rights groups and journalists have documented numerous cases of kidnapping, sexual assault, and other violent crimes committed against them."
However, the administration argues that the the policy has been critical and effective in dealing with the immigration situation at the border.
In a late-February statement, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said that the policy — which had returned "over 60,000 aliens to Mexico" — has been "hugely successful" in "reducing burdens on United States communities and easing the humanitarian crisis on the Southern border."
"We are gratified that the Supreme Court granted a stay, which prevents a district court injunction from impairing the security of our borders and the integrity of our immigration system," a Department of Justice spokesperson said of the ruling, according to Axios. "The Migrant Protection Protocols, implemented pursuant to express authority granted by Congress decades ago, have been critical to restoring the government's ability to manage the Southwest border and to work cooperatively with the Mexican government to address illegal immigration."