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Federal Appeals Court Approves Policy Forcing Asylum Seekers To Wait In Mexico

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- A federal appeals court ruled in San Francisco Tuesday that for the time being, the administration of President Donald Trump can force Central American asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while they pursue their asylum claims.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay of a preliminary injunction by U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg of San Francisco that would have blocked the policy.

The stay will remain in effect while the government completes a full appeal of the injunction, a process that could take months.

The policy, entitled the Migrant Protection Protocols, was begun by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in January. It was challenged in a lawsuit filed by 11 asylum seekers from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and six immigration advocacy and legal services groups.

Omar Jadwat, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants' Rights Project, noted that two out of the three judges on the panel, while agreeing to the stay, expressed legal concerns about the policy.

Jadwat said in a statement, "There is good reason to believe that ultimately this policy will be put to a halt."

Seeborg said in his April 8 preliminary injunction ruling that the policy was not authorized by federal immigration law.

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