Aug 16, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Court ruling allows Trump asylum restrictions in Texas and New Mexico

An art exhibiton next to a section of the U.S.-Mexico border fence. Photo: Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty Images

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that an earlier injunction on the Trump administration's third-country asylum rule, which barred migrants from asylum in the U.S. if they did not first apply for protection in a country they travelled through, can only be applied within the Ninth Circuit.

Why it matters: The Ninth Circuit is located along the West Coast and includes the U.S.-Mexico border states of California and Arizona. That means that this decision will effectively block — at least for now — most Central Americans who cross into the U.S., legally or illegally, in New Mexico or Texas from asylum.

The big picture: The Trump administration has been limiting how many migrants can come through legal ports of entry on any given day. There are around 19,000 migrants at he U.S.-Mexico border who are waiting — sometimes weeks or months — to legally enter the U.S. through a port of entry and make an initial claim of asylum, the AP reported earlier this month.

  • Many of those waiting — and who have followed the administration's directives by attempting to legally enter the U.S. at a point of entry — will now be disqualified from asylum, as Propublica's Dara Lind reported when the third-country rule was first announced in July.
  • Tens of thousands more are being forced to wait in Mexico for their immigration court hearings due to the administration's "Remain in Mexico" policy.

By the numbers: 80% of the hundreds of thousands migrant family members and 76% of tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors arrested for illegally crossing the southwest border this year were arrested in Texas, according to DHS data.

  • More than half of families and almost a third of unaccompanied minors who were turned away or applied for asylum at legal ports of entry did so in Texas.
  • Worth noting: Many but not all of these migrants who cross into the U.S. illegally apply for asylum.
Go deeper