On Monday, a court order forced President Joe Biden's aministration to restart the “Remain in Mexico” policy, first implemented under former President Donald Trump to force asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while awaiting immigration hearings.

Ali Noorani, president and chief executive officer of the National Immigration Forum, joined Boston Public Radio to discuss why the administration reinstated the policy and its effect on asylum seekers.

Trump instituted the "Remain in Mexico" policy in January 2019, which affected an estimated 70,000 people seeking asylum.

“With this massive court backlog and really the lack of resources the Trump administration put into it, you saw families in very dangerous situations up and down the Mexico border for months on end,” Noorani said.

Biden revoked the program upon entering office, but lawsuits from Texas and Missouri led to a Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge, Matthew Kacsmaryk, forcing the administration to restart the program.

“Their hands are tied here by the courts,” Noorani said. Considering that limitation, he added the Biden administration hopes to implement changes to make the policy more humane.

Among those ideas would be to guarantee legal counsel for asylum seekers in the program and provide more secure shelters in Mexico farther from the border. But Noorani worries about the administration struggling to secure counsel, because local nonprofits do not want to validate the process by working with the government.

He also said Biden needs to act fast to keep working toward dismantling the policy. Without action on that front, it will be difficult to continue working with and maintaining the trust of advocates on the ground.

“The Biden administration can still cancel the program, but they have to go through a different process to do so,” Noorani explained. “The challenge for the Biden folks is that you can move quickly to end a program, but unless you follow the processes laid out — in one case, the Administrative Procedures Act — then outside forces can file suit and they kind of have to walk it back.”

Noorani explained that a similar process prevented Trump from rescinding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which protects hundreds of thousands of young people from deportation.

“This is kind of bureaucratic knife fighting that at the end of the day leaves tens of thousands of people at great risk,” Noorani said. “Ultimately, they've got to move quickly to restart the process to end the program, because thousands and thousands of people are going to continue to be put in dangerous situations.”