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Biden Asks Top Court to Cancel Border Wall, Asylum Arguments (1)

Feb. 1, 2021, 11:03 PM

President Joe Biden’s administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court to cancel scheduled arguments over asylum rules and the Mexican border wall, saying officials are moving to change the Trump administration policies at the center of the disputes.

The court is scheduled to hear arguments Feb. 22 on former President Donald Trump’s use of a national-emergency declaration to spend $2.5 billion on wall construction using money appropriated for other purposes. Biden ordered construction halted hours after being inaugurated, and acting Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar told the justices Monday that step was reason not to hear the case.

The other case, set for argument March 1, concerns a policy that has forced almost 70,000 asylum-seekers to stay in Mexico while their applications are being processed.

Under Biden, the Department of Homeland Security has stopped adding new people into the so-called Migrant Protection Protocols program, though the administration hasn’t changed the status of previous asylum applicants or lifted pandemic-related restrictions at the border.

It’s not unusual for a new administration to request dismissal of a case because of a change in the underlying policy. In both cases, the Trump administration had appealed after losing at the federal appeals court level. Prelogar said opponents of the policies agreed to the request to cancel arguments.

The cases are Biden v. Sierra Club, 20-138, and Pekoske v. Innovation Law Lab, 19-1212.

(Adds description of cases, starting in second paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story:
Greg Stohr in Washington at gstohr@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Jon Morgan at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net

Elizabeth Wasserman, John Harney

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.