The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court on Friday to let it enforce a policy that requires asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico while their cases proceed through American courts.
The request comes after a lower court deemed the “Remain in Mexico” policy illegal and ordered a suspension that was scheduled to take effect March 12.
The policy, known as Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), aims to curb entry into the U.S. by asylum-seekers, many of whom are Central American migrants. The administration asked that it be allowed to continue while it appeals the lower court ruling to the Supreme Court.
In its Friday filing, the administration said the policy has helped alleviate the “migration crisis” at the United States' southern border since the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implemented it a little over a year ago. According to DHS figures, more than 60,000 asylum-seekers have been blocked from entry.
The program has been used to “process tens of thousands of aliens applying for asylum ... without the need to detain the applicants in the United States during the weeks and months it takes to process their applications,” the filing reads.
Critics have blasted the Trump administration’s policy as cruel and say it endangers the lives of those fleeing violence and other hardships.
Justice Elena KaganElena KaganPotential Biden Supreme Court pick joins fray over Trump Jan. 6 subpoena Graham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks Why did courts hit pause for Trump — but not Texas abortions? MORE called for MPP’s challengers to respond by Monday afternoon, according to a Supreme Court spokesperson.
A federal district court in California last April ruled that the policy violates U.S. immigration law and contravenes international human rights norms. The court ordered the administration to stop the practice along the entire U.S. border.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld the lower court’s legal ruling, but the appellate court narrowed the injunction to apply to California and Arizona, the two border states under its jurisdiction. The injunction, if takes effect on Thursday, would affect those two states, but would not apply to New Mexico or Texas.