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'Remain In Mexico': Looking At The Policy's Impact On Asylum-Seekers At The Border

Honduran migrants wait in line to plead their asylum cases at the El Caparral border crossing on March 2, 2020 in Tijuana, Mexico. (Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
Honduran migrants wait in line to plead their asylum cases at the El Caparral border crossing on March 2, 2020 in Tijuana, Mexico. (Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

As the Trump administration’s new asylum policy faces legal challenges, we’ll take a look at the policy’s effect on asylum-seekers at the border.

Guests

Julián Aguilar, immigration and border security reporter for The Texas Tribune. ( @nachoaguilar)

David Savage, Supreme Court correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. ( @DavidGSavage)

Father Pat Murphy, director of Casa Del Migrante, a migrant shelter in Tijuana.

From The Reading List

Texas Tribune: “ Dueling ‘remain in Mexico’ orders cause confusion and tension in the borderlands” — “A major international crossing that connects Texas to Mexico was closed Friday and part of Saturday morning after migrant groups amassed in Ciudad Juárez in what American authorities said could pose a potential threat to the border area.

“The temporary closing of downtown’s Paso Del Norte international bridge capped off a day of confusion and chaos after a federal appellate court blocked the Migrant Protection Protocols, one of President Donald Trump’s signature immigration policies. But the end of the program, also called ‘Remain in Mexico,’ was short-lived after the same court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, stayed its own order.

“Word of the reversal came after hundreds of migrants in Ciudad Juárez had gathered at the foot of the international bridge with the hopes of entering the United States. Customs and Border Protection officers then halted northbound vehicular traffic and subsequently shut down pedestrian crossings as well. El Paso Police Department officers cordoned off several blocks near the bridge with red police tape and several people were turned back on the most direct route to the PDN bridge and instead told to take a longer route to the nearby Stanton bridge, which was operating normally and closes at 11 pm.”

NPR: “ Court Blocks Trump’s ‘Remain In Mexico’ Policy Along Part Of The Border” — “A federal appeals court has decided to block the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” plan in two states along the U.S. border, following back-and-forth rulings over the program.

“In its order late Wednesday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said that next week the administration will have to stop making asylum-seekers wait in Mexico for the U.S. to process their claims, but that the court ban applies only to areas in its jurisdiction, Arizona and California.

“The decision comes less than a week after the appeals court briefly blocked the program, then quickly suspended that order.”

Texas Observer: “ Confusion Reigns in Matamoros Migrant Camp Over ‘Remain in Mexico‘” — “On a cloudy day in Brownsville, the pops of color just across the Rio Grande are barely visible among dense greenery. But as I cross the bridge to Matamoros, the fog begins to clear. Along the riverbank, I see a rainbow of tarps behind a chain-link fence, the makeshift settlement stretching into this cartel-dominated city of 500,000. Here, thousands of people wait for the chance to apply for asylum.

“Last week, there was hope that the wait might be over for those in the Brownsville-Matamoros camp. On Friday, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld an injunction on the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), colloquially known as Remain in Mexico. The court argued that by making asylum-seekers wait in Mexico, the United States is breaking federal immigration law and violating international treaties for the protection of refugees.

“The ruling set off a chaotic back-and-forth: A few hours after its decision, the court granted the Trump administration an emergency stay, which has been extended until March 11. The court then said that if the Supreme Court does not respond by that date, MPP will be blocked in California and Arizona—which are under its jurisdiction—but not in New Mexico and Texas. So, as of now, MPP remains in place across the U.S.-Mexico border.”

The New York Times: “ Military to Be Sent to Border Before Supreme Court’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ Ruling” — “The Trump administration will deploy 160 troops to two ports of entry along the southwestern border before a Supreme Court decision that officials fear could prompt large crowds of migrants to seek entry into the United States.

“Under authority that President Trump granted in 2018, Customs and Border Protection will send two teams of 80 military police, engineers and aviation units to San Ysidro, Calif., and El Paso, as the Supreme Court considers the legality of an administration policy that forces asylum seekers to remain in Mexico as their cases are adjudicated.

“Senior officials at the agency said on Friday that the move was a response to migrants who crowded the entry points last Friday when an appeals court in California said the policy was illegal and ruled that asylum seekers must be allowed into the United States.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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