AP NEWS

Judge Richard Seeborg blocks Trump wait-in-Mexico asylum policy

April 8, 2019

A federal judge ordered the Trump administration to stop its new policy of sending asylum-seekers who jumped the border back to Mexico to wait while their cases proceed, ruling Monday that the plan was likely illegal.Known informally as the wait-in-Mexico policy,” and officially as the Migrant Protection Protocols, the plan was a major part of the administrations moves to try to stem the flow of illegal immigrants surging into the U.S.Judge Richard Seeborg, an Obama appointee to the bench, said not only does the policy violate immigration law, but Mexico is so dangerous that making asylum-seekers wait there even if theyre not from Mexico is untenable.Judge Seeborg said it may be possible to come up with a policy that would be legal, with sufficient safeguards, but the Trump administrations version doesnt cut it.He gave the government until Friday to appeal, and then his ruling will take effect.

Federal law specifically allows the government to make illegal immigrants who jumped the border go back and wait on the other side of the border either Mexico or Canada. No previous administration had tested that policy under President Trump, who suggested it in one of his first executive orders in 2017.

His administration began to implement it earlier this year, hoping that making migrants wait outside the U.S. thereby denying them the chance to gain a foothold here would discourage some of the Central Americans rushing the border right now from coming.

The program has gotten a slow start. Homeland Security has been reluctant to talk numbers, but was only slowly expanding the program, and working with Mexico to make sure that country was ready to handle the people the U.S. would be sending back.

But last week, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said she was expanding use of the program.

She was ousted from her position Sunday.