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

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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.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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