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9th Circuit Mulls Case Of Asylum Seekers Forced To Stay In Mexico

The legal fight over whether the government can make some asylum seekers wait in Mexico while their immigration case plays out continued Wednesday at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

First, a federal judge blocked the government’s so-called remain in Mexico policy while a lawsuit by a coalition of activist groups goes forward.

But then on appeal, the 9th Circuit temporarily put the lower court’s ruling on hold and allowed the government’s practice of making some asylum seekers live south of the border to continue.

Lawyers for the activists filed written arguments, and Wednesday’s hearing was to help a panel of three judges decide what will happen next. Most questions and answers zoomed in on nitty-gritty details of federal law. The hour-long hearing went twice as long as it had originally been scheduled. When it ended, the panel gave no indication of when it plans to rule.

The so-called remain in Mexico program launched in California earlier this year and was expanded to Texas. Former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s final order was to spread it further along the border.

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Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.