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A judge blocked the executive order allowing states to bar refugees

In September 2019, President Trump issued an executive order requiring consent from states in order to continue refugee resettlement in those locations after June 2020. Under the order, local governments are able to deny consent to refugees as well. With the deadline for consent approaching, a court out of New York issued a preliminary injunction against the policy, blocking it from going into effect while litigation proceeds. The ruling on Wednesday said that the executive order is likely “unlawful” as it sidelines refugee resettlement agencies and contravenes the Refugee Act’s purpose and structure.

The U.S. has started to send families to Guatemala.

The United States has started sending families seeking asylum in the U.S. to Guatemala. This follows an agreement with Guatemala saying that all asylum seekers who pass through Guatemala before arriving to the U.S. border must first apply for asylum there. Guatemala faces many of the same problems as other Central American countries: violence, corruption, and poverty, and the U.S. has many asylum seekers fleeing Guatemala. For the first time on Tuesday, U.S. officials began sending non-Guatemalan families there

A Salvadoran man waiting for U.S. asylum was murdered in Mexico.

A Salvadoran father of two had been living in Tijuana with his family for 4 months under the Remain in Mexico program. The family had presented at the U.S. border, thinking that since they did not cross illegally they would be safe. Instead, the Salvadoran man was kidnapped and murdered while in Mexico. The man’s widow described their encounter with CBP: “We said Tijuana was really dangerous, there was a lot of crime but they didn’t listen to us. They said that they couldn’t do anything because those were Trump’s orders

A federal judge ruled that asylum seekers at the U.S. border before mid-July are not subject to the asylum limits that were implemented after.

The Trump administration issued a rule in mid-July that required asylum seekers who traveled through other countries on the way to the U.S. border to first seek asylum in those countries. In practice, this meant that those arriving in Mexico would need to seek asylum in Mexico first. Asylum seekers who had already presented at the U.S. border but were sent back to Mexico to wait were being processed under the new rule and denied the ability to apply for asylum. A federal judge in California ruled that the rule does not apply to asylum seekers who arrived at the U.S. border prior to the rule’s existence. If not for the “metering” policy the U.S. employs by making asylum seekers live in Mexico while waiting for a court date, those asylum seekers would have arrived in the U.S. before the rule went into effect.

The U.S. has no plans to send asylum seekers to remote regions in Guatemala after the country brought up its plan.

The U.S. and Guatemala signed a “safe third country”-like agreement over the summer that would allow the U.S. to send asylum seekers to Guatemala if they first passed through there on their way to the U.S. This means that asylum seekers from countries like Honduras and El Salvador would be most affected. On Friday, Guatemala brought up a plan to send asylum seekers to remote airports and have them live far from the capital city. Advocates raised concerns about this plan and the risks it would cause to asylum seekers if they were far from services. The U.S. said that it will analyze all airports to determine if they are in suitable areas, and a spokeswoman for DHS said that “the U.S. government has no plans” to fly asylum seekers to a remote jungle airport “at this time.”

The Inspector General found that Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy would have separated 26,000 children from their families if it had continued

An Inspector General report was released on November 27 that showed that DHS predicted that its “zero tolerance” policy at the border would have separated 26,000 children. Trump ended the policy after a month in June 2018. The report also found that the Inspector General could not confirm the actual number of families separated, because DHS lacked the procedure and technology to effectively track separated children. Critics have attacked this point in particular, contending that without sufficient tracking methods, families should not have been separated at all. DHS did change their procedure to more effectively track families, but this was after the “zero tolerance” policy was scrapped

The first bus of asylum seekers detained in Arizona has been sent across the Texas-Mexico border.

The Trump administration has been using the Remain in Mexico program to send non-Mexican asylum seekers to Mexico for as long as months to wait for their U.S. immigration court date. Remain in Mexico has now been extended to Arizona by busing asylum seekers to Texas and sending them across the border there. The city of Juarez, where many asylum seekers have been sent, said they hope the move is temporary, as their facilities are near capacity and underfunded.

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