CNA Staff, Oct 20, 2020 / 10:00 am
The Supreme Court will hear a challenge to the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, under which some asylum applicants have to wait outside the United States while their applications are considered. The policy is opposed by the U.S. bishops’ conference.
On Monday, the court agreed to hear the case of Wolf v. Innovation Law Lab, a challenge to the administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols, implemented in January of 2019. The policy requires non-Mexican immigrants seeking asylum at the San Ysidro border crossing to remain in Mexico while their cases were processed by an immigration judge.
The “Remain in Mexico” policy has since been expanded to include entries across the entire U.S.-Mexico border.
Asylum seekers receive a notice to appear in immigration court and may re-enter the U.S. for that court date; to stay in the U.S., they must prove a fear of persecution or torture in Mexico.
The policy does not apply to all asylum-seekers: unaccompanied minors and those with known physical or mental health problems are exempt, among others.
The chair of the U.S. bishops’ immigration committee has opposed the policy, along with the president of Catholic Relief Services (CRS); in a joint statement in May of 2019, Bishop Joe Vasquez of Austin, Texas, and Sean Callahan of CRS said the policy “needlessly increases the suffering of the most vulnerable and violates international protocols.”
Both a federal district court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the federal government in the case, with the Ninth Circuit noting that the Department of Homeland Security drafted the rule “without notice-and-comment rulemaking.”
The court also ruled that the plaintiffs bringing the lawsuit had a “likelihood of success” in their claim that the policy is “inconsistent” with immigration law.