UNITED STATES NEWS

Judge says forcing waits in Mexico to seek asylum is illegal

Sep 3, 2021, 5:00 PM
FILE - In this Sept. 26, 2019, file photo asylum seekers in Tijuana, Mexico, listen to names being ...

FILE - In this Sept. 26, 2019, file photo asylum seekers in Tijuana, Mexico, listen to names being called from a waiting list to claim asylum at a border crossing in San Diego. A federal judge ruled Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021 that the U.S. government's practice of denying migrants a chance to apply for asylum on the Mexican border until space opens up to process claims is unconstitutional.(AP Photo/Elliot Spagat, File)

(AP Photo/Elliot Spagat, File)

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A federal judge ruled Thursday that the U.S. government’s practice of denying migrants a chance to apply for asylum on the Mexican border until space opens up to process claims is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Cynthia Bashant’s ruling has no immediate impact but could prevent the government from limiting entry for asylum-seekers because it says it lacks resources. It could also bring relief to some of the tens of thousands of people who put their names on unofficial waiting lists in Mexican border towns.

Bashant, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, ordered the Justice Department and plaintiffs led by Los Angeles-based advocacy group Al Otro Lado to recommend next steps by Oct. 1.

The practice of capping how many people can claim asylum at U.S. land crossings with Mexico, known as “metering,” began in 2016 under President Barack Obama when large numbers of Haitians appeared at the main crossing to San Diego from Tijuana, Mexico. It expanded across the border in 2018 under the Trump administration, spawning often-dubious waiting lists that varied sharply by Mexican border city.

The U.S. stopped accepting all asylum-seekers at border crossings in March 2020, with few exceptions, under pandemic-related authority known as Title 42. The Trump administration first invoked the authority to prevent spread of the coronavirus, and the Biden administration extended it. The judge asked both sides to explain the impact of Title 42 on her ruling.

Waiting lists continue to grow. They had more than 18,600 names in eight Mexican border cities in May, more than half in Tijuana, according to a report by the Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas at Austin. Waiting lists peaked at nearly 27,000 names in August 2019.

The judge found in a 45-page ruling that the practice violated constitutional rights to due process under the law and a federal law requiring officials to screen anyone who shows up seeking asylum.

The judge, ruling in a lawsuit filed nearly four years ago, unequivocally backed criticisms that U.S. officials did not monitor the waiting lists, which were subject to fraud and corruption, and that asylum-seekers were exposed to grave physical danger while waiting in Mexico. Those who sued the government felt vindicated.

“The Court properly recognized the extensive human costs of metering, including the high risk of assault, disappearance, and death, when Customs and Border Protection officers flout their duty to inspect and process asylum seekers and force them to wait in Mexico,” said Melissa Crow, an attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Justice Department declined to comment.

President Joe Biden called metering “disastrous” during his campaign, but it is unclear if he still holds that opinion or if courts may force him to adopt the practice anyway. Last week, the Supreme Court ordered the administration to reinstate Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy to make asylum-seekers who had already entered the United States and received court dates to wait in Mexico for hearings in U.S. immigration court.

Metering was one of the Trump administration’s main responses to the United States becoming the world’s top destination for asylum-seekers. Officials said migrants weren’t being denied rights to seek asylum, just being forced to wait until there were resources to process their claims.

In Piedras Negras, Mexico, a restaurant owner managed the waiting list for those wanting to seek asylum at the crossing to Eagle Pass, Texas. In Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso, Texas, a migrant shelter registered asylum-seekers by writing numbers on their arms in black ink and later by giving them wristbands. In San Luis Colorado, on the Arizona border, a migrant managed the list and appointed a successor when their turn came to claim asylum in the United States.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

United States News

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz with from left, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commi...
Associated Press

G-7 leaders set to commit to long haul in backing Ukraine

ELMAU, Germany (AP) — Leaders of the Group of Seven economic powers are set to commit themselves to the long haul in supporting Ukraine as they meet in the German Alps and confer by video link with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The G-7 leaders will begin Monday’s session of their three-day summit with a focus […]
22 hours ago
Tom Cruise gestures for photographers during the red carpet event to promote their latest movie Top...
Associated Press

‘Elvis,’ ‘Top Gun’ tie for box-office crown with $30.5M each

"Elvis" shook up theaters with an estimated $30.5 million in weekend sales, but -- in a box-office rarity -- it tied "Top Gun: Maverick."
22 hours ago
Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos reacts after his goal during the first period of Game 6 o...
Associated Press

Avalanche dethrone Lightning to win Stanley Cup for 3rd time

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Nathan MacKinnon could not find the words. Gabriel Landeskog cracked a smile and a joke. After years of playoff disappointments, the Colorado Avalanche are back atop hockey’s mountain after dethroning the two-time defending champions. Behind a goal and an assist from MacKinnon, the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup for the third […]
22 hours ago
In this photo released by the Longmont Police Department the Life Choices building in Longmont, Col...
Associated Press

Police investigating fire at Colorado pregnancy center

LONGMONT, Colo. (AP) — A weekend fire at a Christian pregnancy center in north-central Colorado is being investigated as a possible arson, police in Longmont said. The fire at Life Choices was reported at 3:17 a.m. Saturday, hours after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and said abortion laws would be decided by […]
22 hours ago
The Very Rev. Kris Stubna, rector of St. Paul Cathedral Parish, preaches on the topic of abortion a...
Associated Press

After Roe’s demise, clergy lead faithful in praise, laments

Praise and lament for the overturning of abortion rights filled sacred spaces this weekend as clergy across the U.S. rearranged worship plans or rewrote sermons to provide their religious context — and competing messages — about the historic moment. Abortion is a visceral issue for deeply divided religious Americans. Some are sad or angry in […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Average US gasoline price drops 4 cents to $5.05 per gallon

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline fell by 4 cents per gallon in the past two weeks to $5.05 for regular grade, it was reported Sunday. It was the first drop in nine weeks and came with a drop in oil prices amid deepening global inflation fears, industry analyst Trilby […]
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

ADHS mobile program brings COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to Arizonans

The Arizona Department of Health Services and partner agencies are providing even more widespread availability by making COVID-19 vaccines available in neighborhoods through trusted community partners.
...
Canvas Annuity

The secret to guaranteed retirement income

Annuities aren’t really a secret, but they are so misunderstood that they might as well be. Once you understand what an annuity is and how it can benefit you, you could decide this “secret” is the perfect supplement to your retirement plan.
Judge says forcing waits in Mexico to seek asylum is illegal