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Federal judge blocks Trump's "Remain in Mexico" policy for asylum seekers

A federal judge issued an order temporarily blocking the Trump administration from implementing and expanding its "Remain in Mexico" policy, which requires certain non-Mexican migrants who claim asylum at ports of entry along the border to wait in Mexico while their requests are processed.

In his order, which takes effect Friday afternoon, U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg in the Northern District of California said the plaintiffs, a group of immigrant rights groups and asylum seekers, "met their burden" to block the policy on the grounds that "it lacks sufficient protections against aliens being returned to places where they face undue risk to their lives or freedom."

Officially called the "Migration Protection Protocols," the policy has been expanded by the administration after it first debuted at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in San Diego in late January. Since its implementation, approximately 1,105 Central American migrants have been returned to Mexico to await their court hearing, a Mexican government official told CBS News.

The judge's ruling represents yet another defeat in court for President Trump and his immigration agenda at a time when he has grown increasingly frustrated over an unprecedented flow of Central American migrant families heading to the U.S.-Mexico border. 

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Nielsen Kirstjen tendered her resignation Sunday as part of a major overhaul of the agency engineered by White House senior adviser and immigration hawk, Stephen Miller. Last week, the White House withdrew the nomination of acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director Ronald Vitiello to lead the agency on a permanent basis — a move the president said was part of a "tougher" approach on immigration his administration was undertaking. 

Angered by the steady rise of apprehensions of migrant families at the border, the president has recently intensified his tough rhetoric on immigration, vowing to cut all foreign aid to Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras and threatening to shut down the southern border — which the business-friendly U.S. Chamber of Commerce said would cause "severe economic harm" to the U.S.

Seeborg's order on Monday will likely further incense Mr. Trump, who has repeatedly accused U.S. immigration laws and judicial rulings of hampering his agenda. 

Angel Canales contributed to this report. 

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