Appeals Court Rules Trump Administration Can Keep Sending Asylum-Seekers To Mexico

Wednesday, May 8, 2019
By Paul Martin

RICHARD GONZALES LAUREL WAMSLEY
NPR.ORG
May 8, 2019

A federal appeals court has ruled that the Trump administration may continue requiring asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico as they await court proceedings in the United States. It might be seen as a victory for Trump, though a temporary one.

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court’s injunction on the administration’s policy officially known as the Migration Protection Protocols. The policy, better known as “Remain in Mexico,” was first announced in a December 2018 memo by former Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen.

“Aliens trying to game the system to get into our country illegally will no longer be able to disappear into the United States, where many skip their court dates. Instead, they will wait for an immigration court decision while they are in Mexico,” Nielsen wrote.

A lower court in San Francisco must still rule on merits of the case, which may end up before the Supreme Court. President Trump has routinely criticized the Ninth Circuit, but with the recent confirmation of his appointees, the court has a larger conservative wing.

The legal challenge was brought by 11 Central American asylum applications who were returned to Mexico, and six organizations that provide asylum-related legal services. They argue that the policy endangers asylum-seekers by returning them to Mexico while they await their removal proceedings, in violation of the humanitarian protections to which they are entitled under U.S. and international law.

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