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Trump can’t make asylum-seekers wait in Mexico, court rules

Migrants in Matamoros, Mexico. (Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

The Trump administration can’t make Central American immigrants wait out the result of their asylum applications to the U.S. in Mexico, a federal appeals court said.

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday upheld a judge’s order barring the Homeland Security Department’s policy, which prevents immigrants from countries like Guatemala and Honduras from living in the U.S. during the years long review process. The appellate court in May had allowed the administration to implement the policy pending its appeal.

As of January, more than 57,000 asylum-seekers and migrants had been returned to Mexico to wait for their court dates, according to Human Rights First. Of those, 25,000 were sent back to Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros in the state of Tamaulipas, which the U.S. State Department has designated a “do not travel” area because of the risk of crime and kidnapping, the organization said.

Asylum-seekers who have been returned to Mexico are targeted by kidnappers and face assault in shelters, in taxis and buses, and on the streets when looking for food, Human Rights First said in a Jan. 22 statement. Multiple children in Matamoros have reported that they fear human traffickers are targeting the camp there, the organization said.

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