March 1, 2020
Well, here’s finally a Trump policy that actually went through and worked.
A U.S. appeals court on Friday temporarily put on hold a decision to block one of President Donald Trump’s signature immigration policies that reined in a surge of migrants on the southern border, forcing tens of thousands to wait in Mexico.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a Trump administration request to pause its ruling from earlier on Friday, to allow the government to ask the Supreme Court to take up the issue.
If it took effect, the ruling would be a blow for Trump, who has declared the policy a success in reducing the flow of hundreds of thousands of people from Central America into the United States as he campaigns for a second term in office.
The panel found the plaintiffs were likely to succeed in their argument that the program, called the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), violated U.S. immigration law and international obligations on the treatment of asylum seekers.
About 60,000 people have been sent back to Mexico to await the outcome of their cases in often dangerous border towns where they are vulnerable to kidnapping, rape, robbery and other crimes while living in sometimes unsanitary conditions.
Responding to the ruling, the Trump administration said at least 25,000 migrants sent back through the program remained in Mexico and that halting it “could prompt a rush on the southern border” by migrants trying to enter the United States.
The administration urged the appeals court to pause its decision or risk “immediate chaos on the border” that could cause “irreparable harm to the government, migrants, and the United States public.”
Immigration attorneys rushed to ports of entry on the border after Friday’s ruling to ensure Customs and Border Protection officers were aware the program had been blocked, said Taylor Levy, an immigration attorney based in El Paso.
In El Paso immigration court, Judge Nathan Herbert adjourned proceedings for the day, saying he was not sure how the ruling would affect individual cases.
Asylum officers, who screen migrants placed in the MPP program for fear of persecution in Mexico, were told to immediately stop working on such cases, according to an internal email seen by Reuters.
The White House criticized the initial ruling against the program as “another reckless nationwide injunction threatening our constitutional structure.”
Trump, who has made cracking down on immigration a central theme of his more than three years in the White House, has sought, through a series of new policies and rule changes, to reduce asylum claims, filed mostly by Central Americans arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The policies on curbing asylum applications have cut the number of illegal crossings reported by border agents, and have been more successful than Trump’s efforts to build a physical barrier on the southern border.
Arrests of family units on the U.S.-Mexico border from October to January fell to 32,480, a drop of nearly 70 percent from a year earlier.
So, at least he’s done something.
We’re back to a situation similar to the one we were experiencing under Barack Obama.