The Supreme Court is allowing the Trump administration to maintain a program that has forced 60,000 asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their requests are heard. An appeals court had blocked the program, saying it was at odds with both federal law and international treaties and was causing “extreme and irreversible harm.” The high court order gave no reasons for staying the appeals court’s ruling while the case moved forward, the New York Times reports. Justice Sonia Sotomayor said she would have denied the administration’s request for a stay. The ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit applied to the two border states within its jurisdiction, California and Arizona, and was to take effect on Thursday.
Judy Rabinovitz of the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents people and groups challenging the program, said, “The court of appeals unequivocally declared this policy to be illegal. The Supreme Court should as well. Asylum seekers face grave danger and irreversible harm every day this depraved policy remains in effect.” The Justice Department welcomed the decision to allow the administration to maintain the Migrant Protection Protocols program. Solicitor General Noel Francisco said the appeals court’s ruling had already caused chaos at the border. The challenged policy applies to people who leave a third country and travel through Mexico to reach the U.S. border.