The Trump administration was barred by a U.S. judge from forcing Central Americans seeking asylum from persecution to wait in Mexico for months or even years while their applications are being processed.
The ruling Monday is the latest setback for President Donald Trump in his anti-immigration crusade. His policies have been repeatedly stymied by judges since he took office.
The Department of Homeland Security announced April 1 that it was broadening its push to send migrants back to Mexico as border patrol agents faced a surge in illegal crossings. Trump said days later that the U.S. is “full” and can’t accommodate any more migrants from Latin America.
The legal challenge was led by the American American Civil Liberties Union, which argued that subjecting immigrants to long layovers in Mexico would put their lives in danger.
The government argued that its policy was permitted under federal immigration law and courts can’t second-guess it. The Justice Department maintains that this is similar to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Trump’s scaled-back travel ban on people from several, mostly Muslim countries.