Politics

Appeals Court Temporarily Blocks Trumps Remain in Mexico Asylum Policy

A federal appeals court has blocked the Trump administration from enforcing an immigration policy that requires asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico while they wait for a court to process their claims.

The U.S. Court of Appeals of the 9th Circuit ruled 2-1 on Friday to uphold a preliminary injunction issued by a lower court that puts a hold on one of the administrations key immigration policies—the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP)—aimed at ending loopholes in the current “catch and release” policy, under which asylum seekers are released into the interior of the country as they await a court hearing, often never to be seen again. The injunction would remain in place while the case plays out in the courts.

The MPP, more commonly known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy, was enacted in January 2019 as an attempt to curb the flow of illegal immigration and prevent fraudulent or nonmeritorious cases. The policy sends migrants back to Mexico while they wait for a court to process their claims.

After the rule was announced, several organizations and individuals sued the Trump administration to halt enforcement of the policy, arguing that the MPP was inconsistent with the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The district court ruled in favor of the challengers of the policy, prompting the administration to appeal. The administration also requested an emergency stay on the injunction while the case goes through the appeals process. The 9th Circuit subsequently granted the administrations emergency stay request that temporarily lifted the block on the MPP (pdf). The decision on Friday lifts the emergency stay that was granted last year.

The judges ruled that the MPP is “invalid in its entirety” because it was inconsistent with the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), while adding that the challengers “have shown a likelihood of success on their claim that the MPP does not comply with our treaty-based” obligations to not force refugees or asylum seekers to return to a country where they are liable to be subjected to persecution.

The majority also ruled that the immigration policy is likely to cause “irreparable harm” to the challengers of the policy.

“Uncontested evidence in the record establishes that non-Mexicans returned to Mexico under the MPP risk substantial harm, even death, while they await adjudication of their applications for asylum,” Judge William Fletcher, a Clinton appointee, wrote in the majority opinion (pdf). The case is cited as Innovation Law Lab, et al. v. Wolf.

A Justice Department spokesperson told The Epoch Times in a statement that Fridays decision “once again highlights the consequences and impropriety of nationwide injunctions.”

“The Trump Administration has acted faithfully to implement a statutory authority provided by Congress over two decades ago and signed into law by President Clinton. The Ninth Circuits decision not only ignores the Constitutional authority of Congress and the Administration for a policy in effect for over a year, but also extends relief beyond the parties before the Court,” the spokesperson said.

The same court also delivered another blow to the Trump administration, ruling 3-0 to uphold another preliminary injunction issued by a lower court against another immigration policy adopted in 2018. The policy, in that case, cited as East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Trump, “strips asylum eligibility from every migrant who crosses into the United States between designated ports of entry.”

At the same time, the rule was adopted by federal agencies, President Donald Trump signed a proclamation that “suspends the entry of all migrants along the southern border of the United States for ninety days, except for any migrant who enters the United States at a port of entry and properly presents for inspection.'”

The judges said the rule and proclamation separately have little effect but together they “make asylum entirely unavailable to migrants who enter the country between ports of entry.”

After the rule and proclamation were issued, four legal services organizations that represent current and future asylum-seekers sued the Trump administration to prevent the rules enforcement. The district court ruled in favor of the challenges granting a temporary restraining order, saying that the rule “irreconcilably conflicts with the INA and the expressed intent of Congress.” The government appealed and sought an emergency stay on the injunction. The 9th circuit denied the request for the emergency stay, prompting the administration to seek relief at the Supreme Court. The top court denied their request.

During that time, the challenges sought a preliminary injunction on the rule in the district court, which was subsequently granted. This prompted the administration to appeal the decision.

In Fridays decision, the three-judge panel agreed that the rule was inconsistent with the INA and upheld the preliminary injunction.

“Explicitly authorizing a refugee to file an asylum application because he arrived between ports of entry and then summarily denying the application for the same reason borders on absurdity,” the judges wrote (pdf).

The judges also found that the rule would cause irreparable harm to the challenges.

“We agree with the district court that the Organizations have established that they will suffer a significant change in their programs and a concomitant loss of funding absent a preliminary injunction enjoining enforcement of the Rule,” they wrote. “Both constitute irreparable injuries: the first is an intangible injury, and the second is economic harm for which the Organizations have no vehicle for recovery.”

Lee Gelernt, an ACLU attorney who represented the chaRead More – Source

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