IBT reports a federal appeals court on Friday blocked a key asylum policy of Donald Trump’s administration which has forced many applicants to wait in Mexico while their claims are processed, delivering a blow to the US president’s signature crackdown on migration at the southern border.
The policy, known as “Remain in Mexico,” has been used to send tens of thousands of asylum seekers from Central America back to Mexico, but was placed on hold by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
The court ruled that the policy “is invalid in its entirety” under US law concerning migrant rights and UN refugee protocols, and should be blocked “in its entirety.”
The court had originally allowed the policy to go ahead last year, pending the appeal, overruling a district judge who had ruled against the measure.
The district judge had heard evidence that migrants returned to Mexico under the policy faced discrimination, physical violence, sexual assault, corruption and lack of food and shelter.
Some 59,000 people have been returned to Mexico under the program since it was introduced in January 2019, according to official figures released Thursday.
The American Civil Liberties Union, one of the groups that challenged the policy in court, welcomed the ruling Friday.
“The court forcefully rejected the Trump administration’s assertion that it could strand asylum seekers in Mexico and subject them to grave danger,” said attorney Judy Rabinovitz in a statement.
“It’s time for the administration to follow the law and stop putting asylum seekers in harm’s way.”