California Judge Block’s Trump’s Policy to Make Asylum Seekers Wait in Mexico While Their Cases Proceed


Judge Richard Seeborg of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California blocked President Trump’s ‘Migrant Protection Protocols’ MPP policy that would have forced asylum seekers from Central America to wait in Mexico while their cases proceed. MPP was based on a decades-old law that says migrants who enter from a contiguous country can be returned there to wait out their deportation case, although the provision had never been used in the way the administration has applied it. The case will go to the leftist 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which could take a year an a half to litigate.

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.

The
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!”

The
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.

The Trump
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
MPP.

The
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.

Justice
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
hearings.

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.

Seeborg
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
their case.

The ruling can be appealed, and the government could seek a stay of the injunction until the appeals process runs its course.

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Kirstjen Neilsen Resigns as Head of Department of Homeland Security – Replaced by Kevin McAleenan


Kirstjen Nielsen left her position as Director of Homeland Security amid a surge in migrants at the border, including children who are used to claim asylum under the Catch-and-Release loophole. She was heavily criticized and harassed for enforcing the separation of families at the border before the policy was changed. She has been replaced by Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan, the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection who served as its deputy commissioner under Obama. Trump currently has four other acting department advisors, including acting Secretary of Defense Partick Shanahan, acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, acting ICE Director Ronald Vitiello, and acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

After Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s resignation Sunday, Trump quickly announced he was naming McAleenan as acting secretary.

She reportedly resigned after a meeting with Trump, amid the president’s disappointment with continued problems at the southern border.

Nielsen, 46, had served as homeland security secretary since Dec. 6,
2017, succeeding her former boss, John Kelly, when he left the post to
become White House chief of staff.

Trump tapped McAleenan, 47, for the top post after his work enforcing
some of the administration’s more controversial policies, such as “zero
tolerance” for illegal immigrants crossing the border. The commissioner
also has supported a border wall and testified before Congress that
there is a crisis at the border.

Obama named McAleenan as acting deputy commissioner of customs and border protection in 2013, and he was sworn in as the permanent deputy role at DHS under Obama in 2015. The Senate overwhelmingly confirmed him as commissioner in March 2018 by a vote of 77-19.

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