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Judge Blocks Trump Administration Policy Of Returning Asylum Seekers to Mexico

A U.S. judge on Monday temporarily barred the Trump administration from enforcing its “Remain in Mexico” policy, which returns asylum seekers back to Mexico while they await a hearing.

San Francisco Judge Richard Seeborg ordered the administration on Monday to halt the deportation of asylum seekers and gave federal officials until Friday to contest the decision, according to The Associated Press. The ruling comes after two civil liberties groups sued the administration over its December 2018 policy sending foreign nationals seeking asylum in the U.S. back to Mexico while they await immigration hearings.

The suit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Center for Gender & Refugee Studies on behalf of 11 asylum seekers. It alleges that the administration is violating immigrants rights to apply for asylum by making it very difficult to do so. The suit also claims that the administration is failing to recognized and address the violent conditions that are forcing migrants to seek asylum in the U.S., according to the groups.

“This is a naked attempt by the Trump administration to eviscerate our countrys asylum protections,” ACLU attorney Jennifer Chang said in a statement following the lawsuits filing.

The Trump administration says it is within the bounds of immigration law — under the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act — to send migrants back to the country in which they last set foot while they await their case hearings, according to NBC. Prior to the policy, which took effect in San Diego in January, asylum seekers were released into the U.S. while awaiting their immigration hearings instead of being sent back to Mexico.

“This law has been on the books for a very long time and has not been utilized. Thats the example of the kind of legal authority that already exists that is the kind of thing we can deploy to restore integrity to the immigration system,” senior adviser to the president Stephen Miller told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Field Office Director Jorge Field (L), 53, arrests an Iranian immigrant in San Clemente, California, U.S., May 11, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Civil rights groups argue that the administration is misapplying a provision in immigration law that is not meant to apply to asylum seekers who travel to border checkpoints, according to The AP. The new policy means that migrants wont necessarily have lawyers or interpreters at their hearings, according to ACLU attorney Judy Rabinovitz, The AP reported. (RELATED: Sanctuary LawRead More – Source