By KEVIN McGILL, Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal appeals court has dealt another blow to the Biden administration’s attempt to overturn former President Donald Trump’s policy requiring people seeking asylum in the United States to stay in Mexico while their asylum claims are being processed.
In a decision released late Monday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld a Texas-based federal judge’s ruling upholding Trump’s policy, officially known as the “Protocols for the Protection of migrant”.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki declined on Tuesday to say whether the administration would appeal to the Supreme Court and referred those requests to the Justice Department. She reiterated that President Joe Biden continues to believe the program is “ineffective” and “inhumane.”
Biden’s administration had appealed the August decision, but had also begun working with Mexico to reimplement the policy while the legal battle continued. Earlier this month, US authorities returned the first two migrants to Mexico under the reinstated policy.
“We note this decision this morning and of course reiterate that, although this is a program with which we disagree, the injunction dictating the court-ordered implementation remains in effect, we therefore continue to comply with them in good faith,” Psaki said.
Monday’s ruling by three 5th Circuit judges said the administration’s decision to end the policy was arbitrary and violated a federal immigration law requiring people to be detained in the country while unlawfully awaiting trial. ‘expulsion. If there is no capacity to detain them, Judge Andrew Oldham wrote for the panel, the law allows the Department of Homeland Security to return them to “contiguous territories” while proceedings are pending.
Biden suspended the program on his first day in office in January, and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas formally ended it in June. But the state of Missouri and Texas have sued to restore it. Texas-based U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk issued an injunction keeping the policy in effect, saying the administration failed to follow required procedures to end it and lacked the ability to detain all asylum seekers.
Mayorkas released a revised version of the policy on Oct. 29, but Monday’s decision said the revision “simply reaffirmed the termination decision that the states had challenged all along.”
When he released the October 29 policy review, Mayorkas said the “Stay in Mexico” policy likely contributed to a decline in illegal border crossings in 2019, but at “substantial and unjustifiable human costs” for asylum seekers exposed to violence while waiting. in Mexico.
The panel that delivered Monday’s ruling included Oldham and Judge Kurt Engelhardt, both court appointees by Trump, and Judge Rhesa Barksdale, appointed by President George HW Bush.
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