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    U.S. files emergency request to continue returning asylum-seekers to Mexico

    U.S. files emergency request to continue returning asylum-seekers to Mexico

    ACLU asked a court to deny the administration's request to keep in place its policy of returning asylum-seekers to Mexico while they wait for court dates.

    An asylum-seeker rests outside El Chaparral port of entry while he waits for his turn to present himself to U.S. border authorities to request asylum, in Tijuana, Mexico, on April 9, 2019.Guillermo Arias / AFP - Getty Images

    April 12, 2019, 1:07 PM PDT

    By Daniella Silva

    The American Civil Liberties Union on Friday asked a federal court to deny an emergency request from the Trump administration to keep in place its policy of returning asylum-seekers to Mexico while they wait for court dates.

    The Trump administration filed the emergency motion on Thursday asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco to stop a nationwide injunction that bars the government from continuing its policy of forcing migrants to wait in Mexico as their asylum cases play out. That injunction is set to officially go into place on Friday at 5 p.m. local time (8 p.m. ET).

    The government's motion said the injunction issued Monday by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg rested on "serious errors of law" and blocked an initiative "designed to address the dramatically escalating burdens of unauthorized migration."

    The administration is asking for an administrative stay that would take place immediately and remain in place while the court considers the issue of a longer stay while the appeals process plays out in a possibly monthslong process.

    On Friday, the ACLU and other organizations seeking to stop the policy of returning migrants to Mexico said in a brief on Friday that the government's request should be denied and that there was not "sufficient urgency" to warrant an administrative stay.

    "The government should not be allowed to manufacture the need for an emergency administrative stay by failing to timely file a stay request," the brief said.


    Asylum-seeker made to wait in Mexico gets his day in U.S. court

    In issuing a preliminary injunction temporarily stopping the policy, Seeborg ordered that it to go into effect Friday to give the administration time to appeal.

    “It was a huge victory for us and it’s a huge defeat for the Trump administration at least in terms of a signal that you are not above the law,” Judy Rabinovitz, who argued the case for the ACLU, said of Seeborg’s ruling.

    Seeborg also ruled that all 11 migrants named in the lawsuit must be allowed to enter the U.S. within two days of the order taking effect.

    While the order did not officially go into effect until Friday, an official with Mexico’s immigration agency told NBC News the government had not been returning newly arrived migrants to Mexico since the judge issued his decision.

    Asylum-seekers forced to wait in Tijuana fear for their lives

    Since the policy was implemented in late January, 1,323 Central American migrants have been returned to Mexico, according to a statement from Mexico’s National Institute of Migration. Of those, 308 were families including 428 children under 18, according to the statement.

    A Department of Justice official told NBC News that since Seeborg's order all migrants affected by the policy who have had court dates in the U.S. have been told they will not be returned to Mexico following those hearings. The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    The ACLU and other critics of the policy say forcing migrants to wait in Mexico puts their lives in danger and violates their legal right to seek asylum in the U.S.
    Trump administration attorneys have said the policy was meant to deter “baseless” asylum claims that were “overtaxing” the U.S. immigration system.

    Families seeking asylum had previously been allowed to stay in the U.S., either in detention or released into the country, while awaiting their court hearings.

    Rabinovitz said that the ACLU would also be working to get relief for migrants affected by the policy whose court dates in the U.S. may not be for months.

    "Clearly they should benefit even though the preliminary injunction doesn't order the government to bring them back. They can't be subjected to this policy anymore so there's no way they can be required to stay in Mexico," she said.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news...asylum-n993991
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