Migrants must overcome numerous hurdles to enter this country and flee from intolerable conditions in their countries of origin. Adding to these difficulties, the federal government imposed a policy requiring tens of thousands of immigrants along the southern border to wait in Mexico, instead of the United States, when their asylum claims are processed. The U.S. Supreme Court decided to review this policy in Oct.
Remain in Mexico policy
This policy was a major change to earlier federal immigration practices. It was undertaken to prevent substantial migration across the southern border from Central America and other countries. Administration officials claimed that allowing thousands of asylum seekers across the border would overwhelm the nation’s immigration system and damage relations with Mexico.
Migrants in this program, including children, faced violence and homelessness in Mexico while awaiting court hearings on their asylum claims. Human rights groups of documented kidnappings, rapes, and assault against asylum seekers.
Eleven asylum seekers who were returned to Mexico after entering the United States and immigration advocacy groups filed a lawsuit challenging this policy’s legality. The asylum seekers were attempting to escape violence in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
A federal judge granted an injunction blocking the nationwide implementation of this policy. The judge found that making these asylum seekers wait in Mexico did not comply with the Immigration and Nationality Act. The policy, according to the judge, also violated treaties that prevent the United States from sending refugees back to the dangerous countries they were fleeing.
The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, upheld part of that ruling. The Supreme Court later put a temporary hold on that injunction and allowed the federal government to implement this policy during its review.
The Supreme Court may also determine whether individual federal district court judges have the authority to issue nationwide injunctions and are restricted to limiting their rulings to the parties who filed the cases with them. Many federal policies restricting immigration were delayed or blocked by these nationwide injunctions.
Complicated and changing policies can impact your ability to stay in this country. An attorney can help protect your immigration and asylum rights.