A U.S. judge has halted the Trump administration’s policy of sending some asylum seekers back to Mexico.The preliminary injunction will apply nationwide from Friday.

The program was launched in January and was one of many policies aimed at slowing rising numbers of immigrants arriving at the border, many of them families from Central America, that swelled last month to the highest level in a decade.

Because of limits on how long children are legally allowed to be held in detention, many of the families are released to await U.S. immigration court hearings, a process that can take years because of ballooning backlogs.

The Trump administration said last week it planned to expand the program of sending some migrants to wait out their U.S. court dates in Mexican border cities under a policy known as Migrant Protection Protocols, or MPP. Reuters

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