Ciudad Juarez shelter
This policy keeps asylum seekers off US soil
01:36 - Source: CNN
Washington CNN  — 

The Trump administration filed an emergency petition with the Supreme Court Friday, asking the justices to allow the controversial “Remain in Mexico” asylum policy to remain in effect pending appeal.

The policy mandates that non-Mexican asylum seekers stay in Mexico as they await hearings in the United States.

It has resulted in the creation of makeshift camps where hundreds of migrants have waited for weeks if not months in squalid and unsafe conditions. In some cases, migrant families have opted to send children across the US-Mexico border alone.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the policy last week, but is allowing it to remain in effect just long enough for the Supreme Court to consider whether to step in.

In court papers, Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued the policy has “dramatically curtailed the number of aliens approaching or attempting to cross the border” and noted that it has “enabled the temporary return of over 60,000.”

After the appeals court blocked the policy last week, but before it issued a temporary stay of its own order, there was a “rush” to the border.

“Predictably, within hours, DHS’s orderly processing of migrant arrivals at the border faced chaos,” the Justice Department wrote. “Large groups of migrants in Mexico began arriving at multiple ports of entry along the Southwest border seeking immediate entry into the country.”

Lawyers for immigrant rights groups argue the policy violates immigration law and that individuals who are fleeing their homeland out of fears of persecution, are now facing dangerous conditions in Mexico.

Francisco is asking the Supreme Court to put the lower court opinion on hold or narrow it to apply only to plaintiffs involved in the case while the appeals process plays out.