Politics & Policy

Ninth Circuit Rules Migrants Can Be Returned to Mexico While Awaiting Asylum Decision

Central American migrants being held by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in El Paso, Texas, March 27, 2019 (Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters)

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that the Trump administration can continue returning Central American migrants to Mexico while their asylum claims are being adjudicated in U.S. immigration courts.

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a federal trial judge’s April ruling, which blocked the administration’s so-called “Remain in Mexico” policy on the grounds that it endangers asylum seekers by forcing them to return to Mexico where they may face violence or suffer from lack of humanitarian resources.

The policy, announced in a December 2018 memo by then-Secretary of Homeland Security Kierstjen Nielsen, was designed to curtail the so-called catch-and-release system, in which migrants make fraudulent asylum claims with the knowledge that they will be released into the U.S. for months or even years before their court date, which they may or may not appear for.

“Aliens trying to game the system to get into our country illegally will no longer be able to disappear into the United States, where many skip their court dates. Instead, they will wait for an immigration court decision while they are in Mexico,” Nielsen wrote in the memo.

The administration can continue implementing the policy for now but a lower court must still rule on its merits, and, depending on that ruling, the case may end up before the Supreme Court.

In the order filed Tuesday, the appellate court acknowledged the strain placed on the Department of Homeland Security by the massive number of Central American asylum seekers arriving at the border each day, which rose to a 13-year high in March.

If the policy were blocked, the judges wrote, DHS would suffer irreparable harm “because the preliminary injunction takes off the table one of the few congressionally authorized measures available to process the approximately 2,000 migrants who are currently arriving at the Nation’s southern border on a daily basis.”

Most Popular

White House

For Democrats, the Party’s Over

If the Democrats are really tempted by impeachment, bring it on. Since the day after the 2016 election they have been threatening this, placing their chips on the Russian-collusion fantasy and then on the phantasmagoric charade of obstruction of justice. The attorney general accurately gave the ingredients of the ... Read More

The 24 Democrats

Every presidential primary ends with one winner and a lot of losers. Some might argue that one or two once-little-known candidates who overperform low expectations get to enjoy a form of moral victory. (Ben Carson and Rick Perry might be happy how the 2016 cycle ended, with both taking roles in Trump’s cabinet. ... Read More
PC Culture

TV Before PC

Affixing one’s glance to the rear-view mirror is usually as ill-advised as staring at one’s own reflection. Still, what a delight it was on Wednesday to see a fresh rendition of “Those Were the Days,” from All in the Family, a show I haven’t watched for nearly 40 years. This time it was Woody Harrelson ... Read More