On Tuesday, immigration officials rushed to correct guidance sent to asylum officers across the country that could have mistakenly applied a Trump administration policy denying asylum to immigrants who passed through Mexico before reaching the US to some of the wrong people, according to an email obtained by BuzzFeed News.
The guidance sent Saturday to asylum officers came after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday allowed for the policy, which denies asylum to people who passed through Mexico but did not apply for protections there, to be implemented in southern border states outside areas the court covers, such as New Mexico or Texas. The court covers California and Arizona.
A lead official at US Citizenship and Immigration Services emailed the incorrect guidance to asylum officers. The email said the policy applied to all individuals who had filed affirmative asylum applications on or after the date the policy was implemented on July 16 and that remained pending after Aug. 16, the date of the 9th Circuit ruling.
But that email critically didn’t mention when the person entered the US. Asylum applications can legally be filed within one year of a person entering the country, and hundreds of thousands of people do this every year.
The correct policy only applies to those who entered or attempted to enter the country on or after July 16, not to those who came before that date and are still within the year time frame to file.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, USCIS spokeswoman Jessica Collins, denied the agency’s guidance was corrected.
“USCIS took broad and immediate action consistent with the court order and issued more specific guidance once we had time to fully analyze the court order. Neither guidance contradicts the other,” she said.
On Tuesday, the same USCIS official sent an email to USCIS officers saying that the guidance sent Saturday was “withdrawn” and would be replaced by updated guidance. The official added the new details as a “reminder” to the asylum officers.
By Hamed Aleaziz for BUZZ FEED NEWS
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