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Federal Court Blocks Administration Migrant Protection Program (MPP)

U.S. District Judge Richard ¬Seeborg in San Francisco has blocked the administration’s plan to make Asylum seekers wait in Mexico while their claims progress through the system. The Plan, known [perhaps ironically] as the “Migrant Protection Protocols,” had begun in January with those seeking asylum at a single entry point and had been expanded to several others, with plans by the administration to continue expanding the practice of returning asylum seekers to Mexico under an agreement with the Mexican government.

In preventing further use of the program, Judge Seeborg indicated that “the program probably violates the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Administrative Procedures Act and other legal protections to ensure that immigrants are not returned to unduly dangerous circumstances.”

The judge explicitly limited the ruling to the current administration plan under existing federal law, and declined to address whether such a program, if enacted into law, would be constitutional. The ruling also made clear that this doesn’t impact the ability of the Department of Homeland Security to detain individuals who have entered to seek asylum.

The ruling comes at a time of great upheaval at DHS, with Secretary Kristjen Nielsen resigning and several other high-level officials leaving either being fired by the administration or resigning.