Court sides with migrants seeking asylum before ‘Remain in Mexico’ in effect

People stand outside the U.S. immigration port of entry in San Ysidro, Calif., in 2016. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit March 5, 2020, blocked the Trump administration from applying its “Remain in Mexico” policy to migrants who sought asylum at U.S. ports of entry before the policy was put in place. (CNS photo/Mike Blake, Reuters)

SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco March 5 refused to lift a lower court’s injunction blocking the Trump administration from applying its “Remain in Mexico” policy to those who arrived at U.S. ports of entry before the policy took effect.

The injunction will remain in place pending an appeal by the Trump administration.

The administration’s 2019 Migrant Protection Protocols, as the policy is formally known, require asylum-seekers to stay in Mexico while their cases make their way through U.S. immigration courts.

After the policy went into nationwide effect, immigrant advocate groups filed a motion to protect the thousands of asylum-seekers they said would have crossed into the United States before the ban’s effective date of July 16, 2019, if the government had not forced them to wait in Mexico before being inspected and processed — or undergoing what the groups call “illegally metered” — at ports of entry.

The case is Al Otro Lado v. Wolf, a class-action lawsuit brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the American Immigration Council and Mayer Brown LLP on behalf of individual asylum-seekers and the legal services organization Al Otro Lado.

The Trump administration argued that processing those asylum-seekers who arrived at a port of entry prior to July 16 would “heavily burden” the administrative process at the border. The 9th Circuit said the federal government did not provide sufficient proof that this was the case.

Catholic News Service
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