The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on May 7 ruled that the Trump administration can make asylum-seekers wait temporarily in Mexico for immigration court hearings.

The court reversed a decision by a San Francisco judge that would have prevented asylum-seekers from being returned to Mexico during the legal challenge phase of their applications.

Cases can take several years to decide. Being allowed to order migrants to wait in Mexico is a significant change to U.S. asylum practices, and is one of several changes the Trump administration is pushing to make to speed up the process for genuine, eligible asylum-seekers while keeping out fraudulent cases—sometimes criminals—from entering, staying, and working in the country.

The policy had initially been challenged with a lawsuit filed on behalf of 11 Central Americans and advocacy groups, arguing it puts asylum-seekers in danger by forcing them to stay in Mexico, where crime and drugs are prevalent.

In response to that lawsuit, a judge had ruled on April 8 that the White House policy be halted while the lawsuit proceeds. That ruling has been overturned.

Two men, both from Honduras, walk with an attorney as they cross into the United States to begin their asylum cases on March 19, 2019, in Tijuana, Mexico. (Gregory Bull/AP Photo)

Migrant Protection Protocol

The administration introduced its Migrant Protection Protocols policy on Jan. 29 in San Diego and later expanded it to Calexico, California, and El Paso, Texas. Under the policy, asylum-seekers report to a border crossing in the morning.

The U.S. government provides transportation to immigration court and returns them to the border after the hearing.

President Donald Trump and his administration have worked to avoid “catch and release” practices that have been heavily criticized not only for the name, as it compares humans to fish, but also because in the past, there has been insufficient vetting of asylum-seekers.

“Catch and release loopholes, which are the result of statutory and judicial obstacles, encourage illegal immigration into the U.S. and prevent the removal of aliens once they are here. Currently, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can only detain unaccompanied alien children for a few days before releasing them to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for resettlement into the United States,” according to a White House statement.

The Trump administration’s policies seek to avoid letting criminals and ineligible applicants take residence in the United States while giving families in genuine fear and danger in their home countries asylum in the United States.

Nearly 5,000 people from Central America arrived in Tijuana, where the mayor declared a humanitarian crisis and asked the U.N. for aid, in Nov 2018. (Rodrigo Abd / AP)
Nearly 5,000 people from Central America arrived in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, seeking to enter and live in the United States. Tijuana’s mayor declared a humanitarian crisis and asked the U.N. for aid, in November 2018. (Rodrigo Abd/AP)

Humanitarian crisis at the border

Early this year, the president declared the situation at the border a real humanitarian emergency crisis and asked for billions of dollars in his budget proposal to fix and improve various agencies that directly handle illegal immigrants at the border, including the building of more wall structures that would deter illegal crossings.

Most recently, the president has asked for 4.5 billion in emergency funds as the border crisis has reached a critical stage. Most of the money would go to aiding Central American migrant families seeking asylum from poverty and violence in their home countries.

President Trump has said that the United States’ strong economy is what is attracting illegals to the country, including many drug traffickers and criminals.

Includes reporting from The Associated Press.

View more:

Sign up to receive our latest news!

By submitting this form, I agree to the terms.