A federal judge has temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s policy of returning some asylum seekers to Mexico as they wait for their hearings in an American immigration court.
The Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as “Remain in Mexico,” were expanded to include El Paso's ports of entry last month after beginning in California’s San Ysidiro Port of Entry in January.
It was immediately met with a backlash from immigrant rights groups and attorneys who said migrants could be in danger in violent Mexican cities and that being in Mexico makes communicating with their U.S.-based attorneys more challenging.
California-based U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg ordered the Trump administration to halt the program by the end of the week.
As of Friday, 169 migrants had been returned to Mexico from Texas, according to Enrique Valenzuela, the director of Ciudad Juárez’s Centro de Atención a Migrantes, a migrant transition facility operated by the Chihuahua state government.