The US Supreme Court on Monday decided to review the legality of one of the Trump administration’s tough immigration initiatives, which has forced tens of thousands of migrants to remain in Mexico pending decisions on US asylum claims.
The judges will hear the administration’s appeal against a 2019 lower court ruling that the policy is likely to violate federal immigration law. The program, dubbed the Protocols for the Protection of Migrants, continues as the Supreme Court suspended a lower court’s ruling in March pending litigation.
President Trump says the policy, which took effect in January 2019, has reduced the influx of migrants from Central America. Restricting both illegal and legal immigration has become one of the central themes of the Trump presidency.
The lawsuit was filed by immigrant rights organizations and 11 asylum seekers who fled violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and were expelled to Mexico after entering the United States.
The policy of expelling migrants to Mexico is one of the steps taken by Trump in an attempt to restrict migration from Central America and other countries across the border with Mexico. According to the White House, if all the numerous asylum seekers are allowed into the United States, the immigration system simply cannot cope with their influx. Fears are also voiced that this will harm America’s relationship with Mexico.
A federal court has blocked the program, claiming that it is contrary to the text of the Immigration and Citizenship Act and violates treaty obligations not to send refugees back to dangerous countries from which they came.
In February, the San Francisco Court of Appeals upheld a decision to stop the program in part, but then the Supreme Court suspended the injunction.
While awaiting court decisions in Mexico, many migrants, including children, face violence and homelessness. Human rights organizations have documented numerous cases of abductions, rapes and attacks on migrants and are demanding the attention of the authorities to them.