9th Circuit Permits “Remain in Mexico” Policy

In January 2019, the Trump administration implemented the plan called the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). Part of the plan required certain immigrants claiming asylum to be processed for removal proceedings before an immigration judge and then sent to Mexico to wait for the pending asylum proceedings. A district court had placed an injunction on the MPP to prevent immigrants from being forced to wait in Mexico. The MPP is grossly outside of the norm, even within the statutory limits and norms dictating removal and asylum procedure. Before the MPP, immigrants crossing the border who had a credible fear of persecution would be referred to removal proceedings where an immigration judge would determine whether they should be granted asylum. The immigrant would either be detained or paroled (released) to wait for the final hearing.

The MPP changed this norm and forced some  immigrants to wait in Mexico for their claim to be heard by an immigration judge. The injunction on the MPP was not the end of this. The government appealed the decision to grant the injunction at the Ninth Circuit.

The Ninth Circuit granted the stay on the injunction which prevented the Trump administration from sending asylum applicants to Mexico. The court explained that the government “is likely to suffer irreparable harm absent a stay because the preliminary injunction takes off the table one of the few congressionally authorized measures available to process the approximately 2,000 migrants who are currently arriving at the nation’s southern border on a daily basis.”

The MPP creates a dangerous precedent in immigration policy and raises many concerning questions some of which include (1) whether the Trump administration has implemented a new rule which requires in fact requires congressional approval, (2) whether such a move to make persecuted immigrants wait in Mexico further exposes them to dangers, (3) whether immigrants waiting in Mexico would have access to fair proceedings and due process, and (4) whether the MPP contradicts the very purpose of asylum which is to provide safe harbor for persecuted immigrants within the safe borders of the United States. If permitted to continue the MPP without congressional approval, what other dangerous policies could the administration implement to execute its anti immigration agenda?

NOTE: As always this is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Consult an immigration attorney, like myself, for advice regarding your particular circumstances.

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