A federal appeals court on Friday blocked the Trump administration’s push to send asylum seekers to Mexico while they wait for their immigration hearings. The ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is seen as a major blow to the administration’s program to send migrants back to Mexico, which went into effect in January 2019. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan said on Thursday that about 59,000 people have been enrolled in the “remain in Mexico” program that required migrants from Central American to stay in Mexico until their court date.
“The [program] has had serious adverse consequences for the individual plaintiffs,” Judge William Fletcher wrote in Friday’s ruling. “Plaintiffs presented evidence in the district court that they, as well as others, returned to Mexico under the [program], face targeted discrimination, physical violence, sexual assault, overwhelmed and corrupt law enforcement, lack of food and shelter, and practical obstacles to participation in court proceedings in the United States. The hardship and danger to individuals returned to Mexico under the [program] have been repeatedly confirmed by reliable news reports.”