Monday, April 8, 2019

Federal Court Blocks Trump’s Forced Return to Mexico Policy


A federal court has temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s new policy that forced asylum seekers to return to Mexico and remain there while their cases are considered. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center, ACLU and UC Hastings Center for Gender & Refugee Studies sued to challenge the Trump administration's policy on behalf of nearly a dozen asylum seekers who were forcibly returned to Mexico and a number of advocacy organizations that provide legal representation and other assistance to asylum seekers.

In a ruling today, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg (Nortern District of California) enjoined the Mexican return policy from going into effect:

The intro:

"In January of this year, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) began implementing a new policy regarding non-Mexican asylum seekers arriving in the United States from Mexico. Denominated the `Migrant Protection Protocols' (`MPP'), the policy calls for such persons, with certain exceptions, to be `returned to Mexico for the duration of their immigration proceedings,' rather than either being detained for expedited or regular removal proceedings, or issued notices to appear for regular removal proceedings. This case presents two basic questions: (1) does the Immigration and Nationalization Act authorize DHS to carry out the return policy of the MPP, and; (2) even assuming Congress has authorized such returns in general, does the MPP include sufficient safeguards to comply with DHS’s admitted legal obligation not to return any alien to a territory where his or her `life or freedom would be threatened'? In support of their motion for a preliminary injunction, the plaintiffs have sufficiently shown the answer to both questions is `no.'” (footnote omitted).

The conclusion:

"Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction is granted. Defendants are hereby enjoined and restrained from continuing to implement or expand the `Migrant Protection Protocols' as announced in the January 25, 2018 DHS policy memorandum and as explicated in further agency memoranda. Within 2 days of the effective date of this order, defendants shall permit the named individual plaintiffs to enter the United States. At defendants’ option, any named plaintiff appearing at the border for admission pursuant to this order may be detained or paroled, pending adjudication of his or her admission application. This order shall take effect at 5:00 p.m., PST, April 12, 2012."


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