The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that President Joe Biden can shut down the Trump-era policy that led to thousands of immigrants being sent back across the border awaiting asylum.
The president has been working to suspend the “Remain in Mexico” policy from the moment he took office.
Alma Rosa Nieto, an immigration attorney in Los Angeles, said she was surprised by the court’s ruling but clarified the decision doesn’t guarantee permanent residence.
“It doesn’t mean they’ll be here forever,” Nieto said. “It means they’ll be allowed to pursue their application for asylum in the United States.”
Although immigrant rights advocates have said holding asylum seekers at the border is inhumane, attorneys estimate there’s a 1-5 chance of having a legitimate case.
“Unfortunately, the lack of proper legal information may create an expectation in many people who say, ‘I want to try,'” Nieto said.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement currently holds about 24,000 people across the country in detention facilities built to hold about 30,000 people.
Asylum seekers could be sent to facilities or released into the U.S. on a type of immigration probation.
Texas and Mississippi initially sued to keep the Trump policy in place. They are calling the ruling “an unfortunate one.”