A federal appeals court on Wednesday blocked the Trump administration’s “remain in Mexico” plan for asylum-seekers to stay in the country while their case plays out in U.S. courts in California and Arizona.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco will prevent the government from enforcing its policy unless the Supreme Court gets involved before March 12. But the ruling will only apply to Arizona and California, the states under the court’s authority, and not New Mexico and Texas, The Associated Press reported.
The Trump administration is attempting to get the Supreme Court involved and had asked for the policy to continue to be in effect until next week to provide time for the Supreme Court to decide, according to the AP. The policy began in January 2019.
In the past, the Supreme Court has sided with the administration on a number of immigration and border protection legal issues including approving the “public charge” rule and the essential blanket rejection of all asylum-seekers passing through Mexico before attempting to enter the U.S.
Last week, the court had ruled the policy unenforceable for the entire southern border, but the White House fought back, promising consequences.
Judges William Fletcher and Richard Paez, both Clinton appointees, said the act of a court ruling outside its area of jurisdiction is “a matter of intense and active controversy.” But they added there was a definite “extreme danger to asylum seekers who returned to Mexico,” according to the AP.
Judge Ferdinand Fernandez, who was appointed by President George H.W. Bush, said he didn’t think the policy should be blocked at all.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is one of the groups disputing the policy. Judy Rabinovitz, the special counsel in ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project said in a statement, “If the administration had any respect for the law or any sense of decency, it would end this program immediately.”
The advocacy group Human Rights First found in research that more than 1,000 public kidnappings, torture rape and assaults of asylum-seekers who returned to Mexico.