Decision comes just hours after initial order - leaves asylum seekers in legal limbo
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KYMA, KECY) - A 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel voted unanimously Friday night to suspend an order on the so-called "Remain in Mexico" policy it issued earlier in the day.
Friday morning the court issued an order blocking the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) saying it "was invalid in its entirety" due to inconsistencies with the law.
[Related story: Federal court blocks key elements of U.S. immigration policy]
Friday night the three judge panel it reversed its decision, at least temporarily, and ordered the government to file written arguments by the close of business Monday. It ordered plaintiffs to file their response by the close of business Tuesday.
Experts say it's likely the issue will make it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) says at least 25,000 asylum seekers are currently waiting in Mexico. It told the court the sheer number of migrants posed "massive and irreparable national security and public safety concerns"
In their briefing, DOJ attorneys wrote, "The Court's reinstatement of the injunction causes the United States public and the government significant and irreparable harms - to border security, public safety, public health, and diplomatic relations."
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other advocacy groups argue MPP violates international treaty obiligations against sending people back to countries where they face persecution, torture, and possible death.
Migrant advocates had planned to have asylum seekers immediately cross the border in hopes of getting them in front of immigration court judges. Some were successful. Others remain in limbo as judges and attorneys on both sides of the issue try to figure out exactly what to do next.
A large contingent of asylum seekers in Mexicali were among those hoping to cross into the U.S. through the Calexico Port of Entry Saturday morning. It's unclear what they will do now. Our reporters are traveling to Mexicali to speak to them, and their advocates, about their legal roller coaster ride, and their next steps. Local immigration officials have declined to comment thus far.
Stay with News 11, 13 On Your Side, and KYMA.com for continuing coverage of this evolving story.