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Migrants disembark an inflatable raft after crossing the Rio Grande into the United States in Roma, Texas. Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty Images

A federal judge late Friday ordered the Biden administration to revive a Trump-era policy requiring immigrants seeking asylum at the southern border to wait in Mexico while their applications are pending.

State of play: U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, who was appointed by former President Trump and based in Amarillo, Texas, said the Biden administration "failed to consider several critical factors" before terminating the program. Texas and Missouri had sued the administration, claiming the program's suspension worsened border conditions.

  • Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas officially halted the program — which forced asylum seekers to wait in Mexico in often dangerous conditions — this June.
  • Mayorkas at the time argued the policy did not "adequately or sustainably enhance border management in such a way as to justify the program’s extensive operational burdens and other shortfalls."

What they're saying: The judge said Mayorkas failed "to show a reasoned decision" for ending the program and added he did not address "the problems created by false claims of asylum," per Bloomberg.

  • “Since [its] termination, the number of enforcement encounters on the southwest border has skyrocketed,” Kacsmaryk wrote.
  • He noted that the secretary should have considered that asylum seekers are "found non-meritorious by federal immigration judges."

What to watch: The judge ordered the Biden administration to resurrect the program but stayed his decision for one week to give the government a chance for appeal.

Of note via the Wall Street Journal: "It is not clear whether it is possible to restart the program as it would require the cooperation of the Mexican government."

Go deeper

U.S. border cities again see low violent crime rates

Expand chart
Data: FBI, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Reported violent crime in the United States rose in 2020 for the first time in four years, but violent crime rates in 11 of the largest communities along the U.S.-Mexico border stayed below the national average, an Axios analysis found. 

Why it matters: Year after year, data showing low violent crime rates in majority-Mexican American and Mexican immigrant border communities dispels myths of the U.S.-Mexico border as a region filled with crime and chaos.

2 hours ago - World

U.S: Nord Stream 2 "will not move forward" if Russia invades Ukraine

U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price during a press briefing at the State Department in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. will make sure the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project between Russia and Germany won't go ahead if Russian troops invade Ukraine, State Department spokesperson Ned Price told NPR on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Germany's ambassador to the U.S. appeared to support Price's strong rhetoric on the strategically significant pipeline that would circumvent Ukrainian transit infrastructure and deliver Russian gas directly to Germany, eliminating one of the last deterrents Ukraine has against an invasion, per Axios' Zachary Basu.

Scoop: Stephanie Ruhle to replace Brian Williams on MSNBC

Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

MSNBC will soon announce plans to move morning anchor Stephanie Ruhle to the 11 pm ET hour that Brian Williams turned into an elite destination, two sources familiar with the move tell Axios.

Details: The 9 am ET hour, currently hosted by Ruhle, will become part of MSNBC's flagship morning show, "Morning Joe," which currently runs from 6 am to 9 am ET.

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