US Sending Military Police To Two Border Crossings
Speaker 1: 00:00 This week, the ninth circuit court of appeals dealt a setback to the Trump administration's remain in Mexico policy, formerly known as MPP or migrant protection protocols. The program requires asylum seekers to wait in Mexico until their court case comes up in the United States. The ruling from the ninth circuit covers California and Arizona. Meanwhile, the Trump administration says it's sending troops to the Southern border while the Supreme court decides if it will step in. Joining us to talk about this is KPBS reporter max Rivlin Adler and max, thanks so much for joining us. Good to be here. So I set it up a bit in the introduction, but can you give us a fuller picture of where we sit right now in regard to the remain in Mexico policy? Speaker 2: 00:45 Yeah, it gets a bit convoluted, doesn't it? And even people who really closely follow immigration law in the U S to have had their head spinning over the past few days over these decisions. So just some background is that it was just over a year ago that the remain in Mexico policy kicked off and sent back what would become around 60,000 people back to Mexico to wait for their court dates. This was quickly challenged in court by a variety of groups, um, legal aid organizations that were helping immigrants, uh, saying that this blatantly violated the asylum system in the U S and there was an initial injunction from a district judge back, uh, last spring. That injunction was then stayed pending a larger review by the ninth circuit court of appeals, which has jurisdiction in California and Arizona and other States along the West coast. There was arguments in that case in October and then finally last week, last Friday, to be exact, a, a decision came down finding that remain in Mexico was in fact unconstitutional and should be stopped immediately. The court itself then stayed its own ruling to kind of decide when this would take effect and then issued a new ruling earlier this week saying this would go into effect on March 12th. However, the Supreme court could step in and decide to police their own stay on the injunction, letting the program remain in place. Before then, Speaker 1: 02:13 you know, after the injunction was put in place, a group of 30 families went to the border and tried to get in, but they were turned back. Do we know why it played out that way? Speaker 2: 02:22 I was there at around seven 30 last Friday night at the San Ysidro port of entry. As these families commonly made their way to the border at that precise moment, the ninth circuit court of appeals stayed their own injunction saying, Hey, we're, we're actually going to review this for a little bit longer. And there was no procedural way for these people to enter the United States. Uh, they waited, they talked to border patrol agents and they told them that even though the injunction had come down and even though it had been stayed, no one was going to be admitted into the U S that day. Um, so people really were in a desperate situation then because many of them had left shelters that they'd been staying at for weeks, months. They brought all their belongings with them and there was just confusion and chaos along the border. But one thing I would like to stress is that there was no actual violence or bottleneck. Speaker 2: 03:09 There was, it was a very peaceful and calm, a collection of people trying to exercise what they saw as their rights, you know, and now we learned the administration is sending troops to the border, 82, the border here and another 80 to El Paso where the ninth circuit's order doesn't even apply. What's the reasoning behind that? The reasoning is a, in, in Matamoros at least there was a lot of people who did come to the port of entry and were told that they would have to turn back. Um, the customs and border protection then actually momentarily closed the bridge into the United States between Matamoros and the United States and said, we're going to, um, we're going to, uh, wait and see, uh, what, what the court says and we're not going to let anybody in. And they kind of portrayed this as a security issue, whether it was or not. Speaker 2: 04:00 Our journalists on the ground there said, you know, nothing was violent and wasn't a security issue. Um, and as far as I can tell, it's an a Cedric, it was a very calm moment. But obviously what they're preparing for is a situation where people, um, where the injunction does go into, into effect and people do come to the border and mass to say, Hey, we were illegally sent back to Mexico, we deserve to be processed in the United States and border patrol, um, and customs and border protection to this point has seemed unwilling to accommodate that request and instead says, well, you know, we're going to process people like we normally do, which is incredibly slowly. The administration has also said the Corona virus played a part in the decision to send the troops but a year at the border all the time. And there are no obvious precautions being taken in that regard. Speaker 2: 04:48 What more do you know about that aspect of the true border? Right. So Mexico, like the rest of the world is beginning to get its first confirmed cases of coronavirus. There've been some in Mexicali, there've been a few spread out across Baja. Um, and, and the kind of tagging on of Corona virus to this troop build up along the border is interesting because the actual precautions that are being taken at the port of entry, at least last one I crossed, um, were fairly minimal. They're, they're not asking people, um, where they've been recently. There's no, uh, there is signage that, Hey, if you've been to China, um, you know, let us know. But, you know, no one's taking anyone's temperature. No one is really asking too much about where people have come from and where they're going. So, um, it's interesting that they would tie both the asylum seekers who have been in Tijuana. These are people who have been sent back to Tijuana. They've been there for months to the idea of the spread of coronavirus, uh, seeing as though we know for a fact these people have not left Mexico. I've been speaking with KPBS reporter max Riverland Adler. Max, thanks for joining us. Thank you.