Last month in San Francisco, a federal judge temporarily blocked an immigration policy requiring asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico while awaiting their hearings. United States District Judge Richard Seeborg issued his preliminary injunction on the basis that the Immigration and Naturalization Act does not support the policy – also known as Migrant Protection Protocols.
Just days after the block, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the federal government an emergency stay of the lower court’s ruling, allowing the administration to resume the remain-in-Mexico practice. The administration announced they are resuming the policy of requiring asylum-seekers at southern border ports of entry to wait in Mexico until their cases are reviewed.
Lawsuit on Behalf of Asylum Seekers
The block came in response to a case brought by multiple civil rights agencies including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Southern Poverty Law Center on behalf of eleven asylum seekers and several immigrant advocacy organizations.
The lawsuit claims the remain-in-Mexico policy violates the Immigration and Naturalization Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the nation’s human rights duty to protect asylum-seekers from returning to dangerous conditions.
Injunction Blocking Remain-in-Mexico Policy
Seeborg asserts that even if the remain-in-Mexico policy were sanctioned by law, it does not comply with the Department of Homeland Security’s policy to prevent migrants from returning to locations where their freedoms or safety may be in danger.
History of Remain-in-Mexico
The practice of returning asylum-seekers to Mexico to await their immigration hearings began early this year in San Diego, California at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. Since that time, approximately 1,105 migrants arriving from various parts of Central America have been returned to Mexico to await their court proceedings.
The policy was designed to address the influx of migrant families making their way toward the United States. Immigration authorities said they reached a “breaking point” after detaining or turning away more than 100,000 individuals, including almost 9,000 unaccompanied children at the United States – Mexico border.
Update on Remain-in Mexico Policy
Just days after Judge Seeborg blocked the government from enforcing remain-in-Mexico, a higher court granted the federal government’s motion to stay the earlier ruling, rendering the policy effective once again. A Department of Homeland Security spokesperson said the agency would resume the practice among various ports of entry throughout Texas and California and expand to additional locations moving forward. They say they are working closely with their counterparts in Mexico to ensure the flow of individuals is orderly and safe for all-involved.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Fight to Protect Asylum-Seekers
The idea of returning individuals seeking asylum to the dangerous conditions they are trying to leave behind is heartbreaking. Yet tough anti-immigration policies including remain-in-Mexico are doing just that. If you or a loved one have questions about your rights while pursuing asylum status in the United States, contact Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C.
Our team is dedicated to resolving your complex immigration matters to protect you and your loved ones. We offer case consultations in your own language, so you understand all of your options and feel comfortable to ask questions and share your concerns. To schedule a confidential case review with a multilingual Philadelphia immigration lawyer, call 215-925-4435 or contact us online today. Located conveniently in Center City Philadelphia, attorneys at Surin & Griffin, P.C. proudly represent clients throughout the state of Pennsylvania and nationwide.