Court Blocks Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” Scheme

The policy has forced asylum seekers to wait in dangerous Mexican border towns while their cases progress.

Migrants families rest in a camp on the banks of the Rio Grande, at the border with the United States, in Matamoros, Mexico, on January 31. Abraham Pineda JáCome/ZUMA

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

A federal appeals court blocked the Trump administration’s infamous “Remain in Mexico” policy Friday, putting an immediate stop to a scheme that has prevented asylum seekers from setting foot in the United States and reshaped the asylum process. 

On Friday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s injunction against the system, officially called the Migrant Protection Protocols, finding that the policy “is invalid in its entirety.” The scheme has forced more than 60,000 people, mostly from Central America, to return to Mexican border cities after asking for asylum at the US-Mexico border and remain there as their cases move through immigration court in the United States.

Since it was first implemented in January 2019, human rights organizations have said this policy puts an already vulnerable population at higher risk, with hundreds of cases of kidnappings, extortion, rape, and murder reported among asylum seekers waiting in Mexico in the last year. 

“The court forcefully rejected the Trump administration’s assertion that it could strand asylum seekers in Mexico and subject them to grave danger,” says Judy Rabinovitz, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union. “It’s time for the administration to follow the law and stop putting asylum seekers in harm’s way.”

The case, Innovation Law Lab v. Wolf, was brought on behalf of 11 individual asylum seekers, with assistance from Innovation Law Lab, the Central American Resource Center of Northern California, Centro Legal de la Raza, the University of San Francisco School of Law Immigration and Deportation Defense Clinic, Al Otro Lado, and the Tahirih Justice Center.

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate