White House to appeal court ruling on sending asylum-seekers to Mexico

The White House said Tuesday it will appeal a federal judge's ruling from a day earlier blocking an administration policy of having some asylum-seekers remain in Mexico while their cases are processed in the U.S.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders blasted U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg's decision, arguing it "gravely undermines the President’s ability to address the crisis at the border with the tools Congress has authorized and disrupts the conduct of our foreign affairs."

"The flow of illegal aliens is crashing our immigration system and overwhelming our country," she said in a statement. "But a district court has issued yet another nationwide injunction forcing open borders policies onto an unwilling American populace."


Sanders said the administration intends to appeal the decision from the federal judge in California and "will take all necessary action to defend the Executive Branch’s lawful efforts to resolve the crisis at our southern border."

Seeborg's decision addressed the Migrant Protection Protocols, which forced some asylum-seekers to be sent to Mexico to wait out the duration of their immigration hearings. The administration recently announced that it would begin to expand the policy, informally known as the "Remain in Mexico" program.

Another federal judge last Friday ruled against the administration’s policies on detaining asylum-seekers while they awaited their appearances before an immigration judge, ordering that the asylum-seekers be granted an immigration hearing within seven days of their request or be released.

President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer Sen. Heller to run for Nevada governor Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right MORE earlier Tuesday cited the ruling from Seeborg, who was appointed by former President Obama, as he railed against congressional Democrats and judges for hindering his immigration agenda.

"We have bad laws. We have a judge that just ruled, incredibly, that he doesn’t want people staying in Mexico," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. "Figure that one out."

He proceeded to decry the ruling as a "disgrace" and lamented that the U.S. has the "worst laws of any country anywhere in the world."

The court decision comes as the president seeks to shift his efforts to curb illegal immigration and his approach to the influx of migrants at the southern border.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced earlier Tuesday that agents apprehended roughly 92,000 individuals in March trying to cross the southern border. The number was the highest of the year to date.

The president on Tuesday said that he was not looking to reinstitute the policy of separating families that crossed the border illegally, something that has been reportedly floated recently, but argued that the practice served as an effective deterrent.

However, a senior administration official said the White House is seeking ways to make it harder for migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border to receive asylum, in part by forcing them to meet stricter requirements proving they have a credible fear of returning to their home countries.