A federal appeals court has handed the Trump administration a victory over the controversial asylum process and an immigration attorney says the ruling could slow the flow of illegal aliens.
The notoriously left-wing 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled May 7 that the United States can require asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for a court hearing, a decision that overturned a San Francisco judge that said they could remain in the U.S.
Responding to the “caravans” of illegals from Central America, President Trump and his administration introduced the “Migrant Protection Protocols” policy in January in an effort to curb abuse of the asylum process. But a federal judge ruled in early April that the policy endangered migrants in crime-ridden Mexico, The Associated Press reported.
U.S. immigration authorities maintain the asylum process is routinely abused by illegal aliens who know the system: request asylum, claim they have a “credible fear” of harm if they return home, then receive a court date only to disappear into the country.
The New York Times reported in an April story that federal immigration law sets a “fairly low bar” for the initial screening process, and more than three-quarters of asylum seekers are granted a court hearing, and the hearing date could take years.
Approximately 80 percent of the applications are denied once they reach a federal immigration judge.
Art Arthur, a resident fellow in law and policy at the Center for Immigration Studies, predicts the ruling creates a “huge disincentive” for illegal aliens attempting to enter the United States.
“Because it does give the United States the ability to maintain those individuals in Mexico,” he says, “for what could be an extended period of time.”
The Associated Press reports the case must still be considered on its merits and could end up at the U.S. Supreme Court. But allowing the policy to remain in effect for now allows the administration carry out an unprecedented change to U.S. asylum practices.
“I think that at the end of the day,” says Arthur, “the circuit court is going to rule that the Trump administration does have the ability to maintain its Remain in Mexico, or NPP as it calls it, notwithstanding the findings of the district court.”