Local organizations react to SCOTUS rulings on immigration, climate change policies

NOW: Local organizations react to SCOTUS rulings on immigration, climate change policies

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The U.S. Supreme Court handed the Biden administration a victory and a defeat in two separate rulings Thursday, June 30, centered around immigration policies at the border and addressing climate change.

By a vote of 5 to 4, the court ruled in favor of ending the 'Remain in Mexico" policy that began in 2019 during the Trump administration.

It grants a major victory to President Joe Biden who's been trying to end the program, formally known as Migrant Protection Protocols, which forced tens of thousands of asylum seekers arriving at the southern border to await approval in Mexico.

The ruling allows the President to follow through on one of his priorities since taking office: to build a more "humane border policy."

Immigrant-rights supporters and local organizations, including Voces De La Frontera, celebrated the ruling as they have long opposed the program calling it cruel.

"There are people fleeing violence who have tried to get asylum have experienced kidnapping, sexual violence, torture, people have been killed," said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director, Voces De La Frontera. "It's been a human rights tragedy and it's something we want to close the book on."

The program put about 70,000 asylum seekers in refugee camps on the Mexican side of the border where many became targets of kidnappers and drug cartels. Since the program resumed in December, immigration officials enrolled over 5,100 as of May 31.

Biden restarted the program after a lower court reinstated it. A Texas federal judge ordered the administration to show proof it could unwind MPP without violating administrative and immigration laws.

The Supreme Court ruled the Biden administration did not violate immigration law after attempting to end the program. It's unclear if the President will try to end the program immediately or wait for the lower court to rule.

Republicans slammed the decision and touted the program as a way to reduce the flow of migrants and drugs across the border. In a tweet, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson said, "this is a massive blow to keeping our border safe and secure."

Defeat for the EPA, Climate Change

The Supreme Court also issued a ruling that will curb the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to fight climate change, a blow to the Biden administration that's tried to slash emissions over concerns of global warming.

The 6 to 3 decision is a win for coal producing states and sharply limits the EPA's capacity to broadly regulate carbon emissions from power plants.

While Wisconsin doesn't mine any coal, we burn it.

"The writing is really on the wall and this [decision] is just a gift to the dying coal industry," said Brett Korte, an attorney for Clean Wisconsin, who focuses on climate and energy issues. "Wisconsin families could be paying to burn coal that we know pollutes the air and lungs for way longer than it should."

While the extent of the potential harm of the ruling remains to be seen, Korte said it’s a devastating blow to fighting climate change.

"By limiting the regulators ability to not transition off fossil fuels means we're going to be burning those things longer and longer and we know we don't have time for that," said Korte.

In the majority opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, he said neither the EPA or any other agency can adopt rules that are "transformational" to the economy, unless Congress authorizes those decisions to address a specific issue -- like climate change.

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