A federal judge in California has temporarily blocked the Trump administration from sending non-Mexican asylum seekers to Mexico while their cases are pending in the U.S.
The ruling is a blow to the administration and comes the day after the Homeland Security chief resigned.
The preliminary injunction, which was decided upon Monday, will go into effect Friday at 5 p.m. EST. The judge said that the decision was not a sweeping declaration that the federal government could not continue this practice at some point. Rather, it was about how the Trump administration was enforcing the policy.
The protocol likely does not comply with the Administrative Procedures Act, according to court documents, because it did not do enough to protect asylum seekers. The court filing said “further procedural protections would be required to conform to the government’s acknowledged obligation to ensure aliens are not returned to unduly dangerous circumstances.”
It’s at least the second Trump policy that applies specifically to asylum seekers that has been blocked by a federal court in San Francisco, according to BuzzFeed’s Hamed Aleaziz. Back in November, a judge blocked Trump’s declaration that asylum would be banned from immigrants who did not cross the border using legal protocols.
President Trump is sure to be angry over the court’s decision as he has frequently sparred with federal courts over immigration policy. Trump’s Homeland Security chief, Kirstjen Nielsen, announced Sunday that she would resign from her position amid a growing pressure from her boss to crack down on immigration at the U.S.’s southern border. Before her resignation, Nielsen had sought to expand the “Remain in Mexico” policy, according to Amnesty International. The policy went into effect in late January.
Nielsen oversaw DHS while it forcibly separated migrant children from the parents. The U.S. government recently said last week it could take up to two years to reunite children with parents, due to unsatisfactory U.S. record-keeping. Trump reportedly has been pushing for several weeks to reinstate the practice of family separation to deter immigration.
Cover: In this March 5, 2019, image, Ruth Aracely Monroy walks with her sons in Tijuana, Mexico. After fleeing violence in El Salvador and requesting asylum in the United States, the family was returned to Tijuana to wait for their hearing in San Diego. They were one of the first families to contend with a radical policy shift that makes asylum seekers stay in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. immigration courts. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)