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US Supreme Court to review contentious Remain in Mexico immigration policy

Migrants make their way on foot on one of the main migratory routes from Honduras, through Guatemala and into Mexico towards the border with the US. Picture from Radio Progreso

The US Supreme Court is agreeing to review a Trump administration policy that makes asylum seekers wait in Mexico for US court hearings.

With the court's calendar already full through to the end of the year, the justices will not hear the case until 2021.

If Joe Biden were to win the presidential election in November and rescind the policy, the case would become largely moot.

Trump's "Migrant Protection Protocols" policy, known informally as "Remain in Mexico", was introduced in January 2019.

It became a key pillar of the administration's response to an unprecedented surge of asylum-seeking families at the border, drawing criticism for having people wait in Mexican cities.

Lower courts found that the policy is probably illegal but earlier this year the Supreme Court stepped in to allow the policy to remain in effect while a legal challenge plays out in the courts.

More than 60,000 asylum seekers were returned to Mexico under the policy and the US Justice Department estimated in late February that there were 25,000 people still waiting in Mexico for hearings in US courts. Those hearings were suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more: Fleeing poverty and violence in Honduras - a migrant's journey to the US

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