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Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ Asylum Policy Was Blocked by a Federal Court
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Summary: A Federal Court temporarily halted a Trump administration policy to make asylum seekers wait in Mexico.

A federal appeals court temporarily blocked a Trump administration immigration policy that requires asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. immigration courts, the AP reported.

A three-judge panel of the ninth US circuit court of appeals in San Francisco upheld an injunction blocking the so-called “Remain in Mexico” policy, which has required people applying for asylum at the border to wait in Mexico while their cases are decided in the U.S courts-a process that might take months or even years.

  
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The same court temporarily halted another policy, one that denies asylum to anyone who enters the US illegally. 

The two policies are central pillars in the President’s asylum crackdown, dealing the administration a major blow

The same day, however, the court stayed its decision, causing chaos at border crossings, courtrooms, and legal offices.

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Despite the confusion, the temporary ban on MPP offered hope to 2,500 migrants who have been living for months in the insecure border cities along the Rio Grande. According to charity Human Rights First, there have been around 800 reports of violent crimes against denied migrants.

“We were all hoping for this inhumane and macabre program to be invalidated,” said Joel Fernández, 51, a Cuban asylum seeker told the AP.



In the past year, around 60,000 migrants have been sent back to Mexico, after the policy, officially called the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), took effect in January 2019. Officials believe ‘Remain in Mexico’ is a big reason why illegal border crossings dropped about 80% from a 13-year high in May.

Only 5% of the roughly 35,000 MPP cases that have been decided are represented by attorneys, and less than 1% of the cases have been granted asylum.

While Justice Department lawyers argued that Trump was within his rights to impose the policies without Congress’s approval, opponents such as the American Civil Liberties Union, asserted that the administration violated US law and obligations to international treaties.

It’s a resounding rejection,” Judy Rabinovitz of the American Civil Liberties Union, said of the court’s ruling earlier Friday. She added, “The policy is a disgrace, it’s illegal, it’s morally indefensible, and it needs to stop.”

Chad Wolf, acting secretary of homeland security, said U.S. border officials have continued to process meritorious asylum claims and reduced fraudulent and invalid claims.

Should this ruling stand, the safety and security of our border communities, international relationships, and regional stability is at risk,” he said in a statement. “This nationwide injunction is grave and reckless, rewrites the laws passed by Congress and undermines the U.S. Constitution,” he said.

ACLU attorney Judy Rabinovitz called the suspension of Friday’s order “a temporary step.”

We will continue working to permanently end this unspeakably cruel policy,” she said.

Christopher Landau, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, said in a court filing that halting the policy creates a “substantial risk of immediate chaos on the border.

The ambassador said the policy is critical to deterring “uncontrolled crossing of third-country migrants through Mexico to the United States and halting it would encourage more asylum-seekers to come and ‘obliterate the substantial progress that both countries have made over the last year.’”



 

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