California Judge Block’s Trump’s Policy to Make Asylum Seekers Wait in Mexico While Their Cases Proceed
A U.S. judge on Monday halted the Trump administration’s policy of
sending some asylum seekers back across the southern border to wait out
their cases in Mexico, stopping a program the government planned to
expand to stem a recent flood of migrants.
ruling is slated to take effect on Friday, according to the order by
U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco. The preliminary
injunction will apply nationwide.
In a late night tweet, U.S.
President Donald Trump said, “A 9th Circuit Judge just ruled that Mexico
is too dangerous for migrants. So unfair to the U.S. OUT OF CONTROL!”
program was launched in January and was one of many policies aimed at
slowing rising numbers of immigrants arriving at the border, many of
them families from Central America, that swelled last month to the
highest in a decade.
Because of limits on how long children are
legally allowed to be held in detention, many of the families are
released to await U.S. immigration court hearings, a process that can
take years because of ballooning backlogs.
administration said last week it planned to expand the program of
sending some migrants to wait out their U.S. court dates in Mexican
border cities under a policy known as Migrant Protection Protocols, or
government argued MPP was needed because so many asylum seekers spend
years living in the United States and never appear for their court
hearings before their claim is denied and an immigration judge orders
them to be deported.
Seeborg said the Immigration and
Nationalization Act, however, does not authorize the government to
return asylum seekers to Mexico the way the government has applied it.
He also said the policy lacks safeguards to protect refugees from threats to their life or freedom.
Department data show that while the percentage of immigration court
cases completed “in absentia” – when the foreign citizen fails to show –
has risen in recent years, the majority of immigrants show up for their
A U.S. Department of Justice spokesman declined
to comment on Monday’s ruling. The White House did not immediately
respond to a request for comment.
The Mexican foreign ministry considers the ruling “an internal decision” of the United States, a spokesman said.
said the government shall permit the 11 plaintiffs in the case to enter
the United States beginning on Sunday. He said the government still
retained the right to detain the asylum-seekers pending the outcome of
The ruling can be appealed, and the government could seek a stay of the injunction until the appeals process runs its course.