Asylum seekers win preliminary injunction to reunite with families in US in victory against Trump policy

Group will be able to ‘safely pursue’ their cases in America, rather than waiting in Mexico

Chantal da Silva
Monday 15 February 2021 11:09 GMT
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A group of seven asylum seekers, including children, who had been forced to wait in Mexico while their immigration applications were being processed in the US under a controversial Trump policy, have been granted a preliminary injunction allowing them to reunite with loved ones already living in America and “safely pursue” their asylum cases there.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented the group in court, has welcomed the injunction as a “victory against a Trump-era policy” that immigration and human rights groups have long warned has put already vulnerable asylum seekers at risk.

Under the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), tens of thousands of asylum seekers, including thousands of children, have been forced to wait in Mexico, while their applications are weighed in America.

The Biden administration has sought to reverse the programme, but has warned that doing so will take time as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) begins allowing access for thousands of asylum seekers with “active claims”.

In the case of the seven asylum seekers represented by the ACLU, US District Court Judge Indira Talwani issued a preliminary injunction in favour of families living in Massachusetts who said their loved ones were wrongly being forced to remain in Mexico.

Read more: Plan to use force in fingerprinting Channel asylum seekers will spark violence and self-harm, Priti Patel warned

Among the plaintiffs are a family of five that the ACLU says has been struggling to feed their children while living in a “dilapidated home” in the Mexican border town of Matamoros.

“The plaintiffs also include two mothers whose children were processed out of the MPP in recent months, one living at the migrant camp in Matamoros and one living in Nuevo Laredo, where she has survived numerous close encounters with cartels,” they said. Both mothers will now be able to reunite with their children in Massachusetts.

“Families belong together, and we are delighted that these families will be brought to safety after well over a year in peril,” Carol Rose, the executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, said in a statement published online.

“Thousands of families, including young children, have been subjected to violence and suffering as a result of [the MPP policy],” she said, however.

“Unwinding Trump’s harmful and unlawful policies is just the start to making our asylum system more efficient, fair, and humane.”

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