Judge Blocks Trump Administration's Asylum Policy. Here's Why.

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Posted: Apr 08, 2019 6:33 PM
Judge Blocks Trump Administration's Asylum Policy. Here's Why.

Source: AP Photo/ Manuel Balce Ceneta

United States District Judge Richard Seeborg on Monday blocked the Trump administration's policy of sending asylum seekers back to Mexico while they await the court to hear their case, commonly referred to as the "Remain in Mexico" program. Judge Seeborg's ruling, however, is being put on hold until Friday so Trump's team has the opportunity to appeal, the Associated Press reported. 

The Trump administration made the decision to force asylum seekers to wait in Mexico until their case could be heard because of the number of illegal aliens flocking to the United States-Mexico border. The various caravans traveling from Central American countries, like Guatemala and Honduras, has overwhelmed immigration officials.

The lawsuit was brought about by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Border Rights Center on behalf of various asylum seekers who argued the Trump administration wasn't assessing the danger they're facing in Mexico.

From the AP:

Under the new policy, asylum seekers are not guaranteed interpreters or lawyers and don’t get to argue to a judge that they face the potential of persecution or torture if they are sent back to Mexico, Judy Rabinovitz, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, said at a March court hearing.

Seeborg appeared skeptical of the lawsuit’s argument that the administration misapplied a U.S. law that allows the return of immigrants to Mexico. The ACLU and other groups that are suing say that law does not apply to asylum seekers who cross the border illegally or arrive at a border crossing without proper documents.

The judge also questioned the Justice Department’s argument that asylum seekers sent back to Mexico are not eligible for certain protections, such as a hearing before an immigration judge.

The administration hopes that making asylum seekers wait in Mexico will discourage weak claims and help reduce an immigration court backlog of more than 800,000 cases.

The process was developed after talks between the United States and Mexico. The policy excludes Mexicans and children seeking asylum. 

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“Remain in Mexico leaves individuals and families fleeing persecution stranded on the other side of the border, when what they need and deserve under our laws is protection in America,” Archi Pyati, chief of policy for the Tahirih Justice Center, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said in a statement. "This policy goes against basic tenets of fairness, and makes it all but impossible for us to do our jobs. We are glad to see justice served.”