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Federal judge blocks Trump administration program forcing asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while awaiting court hearings




U.S. Secret Service near the United States-Mexico border seen from Mexicali, Mexico, on April 5. A federal judge has ruled that an experimental program to keep asylum seekers in Mexico must stop by the end of the week. (Guillermo Arias / AFP / Getty Images)

A federal judge on Monday blocked an experimental trump administration policy that requires asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases make their way through the immigration court system, a major blow to President Trump as border crossings have surpassed their highest point in more than a decade. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco enjoys the Migrant Protection Protocols policy days after outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen pledged to expand the program. The policy began in January.

Trump has justified blocking asylum seekers from entering the United States by claiming that many asylum seekers are trying to carry out scam – that they are coached to file false asylum claims knowing that they will be released in the country because of a lack of detention bed space. The administration had hoped to keep more asylum seekers in Mexico and off U.S. soil – while they await court hearings on their claims.

soil – including areas that are outside U.S. border barriers but inside U.S. territory – have the legal right to seek asylum. They are generally held in detention facilities to await their cases or are released in the United States.

The policy had been one idea to vote the flow of migrants in the country, but Seeborg said his order ending the policy will take effect at 5 p.m. on April 12. Within two days, he said, the 11 migrants named in the lawsuit must be allowed to enter the United States, and the administration may not implement or expand the program.

The American Civil Liberties Union, one of the groups filed the lawsuit, including the "very important decision" on an "unpredicted" attempt to block asylum seekers from setting foot on U.S. soil.

"What it means is that nobody else can be sent to Mexico," said Judy Rabinovitz, an ACLU lawyer. "They can't enforce this policy."


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