It briefly appeared that President Donald Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico policy suffered a major setback when a three-judge panel halted its implementation. But just as affected asylum seekers started to celebrate and headed to border crossings, the same three-judge panel suspended the order it made hours earlier.

A three-judge panel at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled on Friday that the Donald Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico policy is legally invalid, according to The New York Times. Formally called the “Migration Protection Protocols” (MPP), the policy means “asylum seekers arriving at ports of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border will be returned to Mexico to wait for the duration of their U.S. immigration proceedings,” according to

Implementation of the Remain in Mexico policy started in January 2019, The Guardian reported. As a result, around 60,000 people were sent back to Mexico to wait for their hearings. While the panel ruled the policy invalid, it also clarified that their ruling only applied to Arizona and California, which are the only states that fall under their jurisdiction.

The panel likewise put another policy on hold. This measure “denies asylum to anyone who passes through another country on the way to the US border with Mexico without seeking protection there first.” This policy was originally implemented in September 2019.

As expected, the administration’s Remain in Mexico policy had a lot of opponents, which include the American Civil Liberties Union. They argued that the government violated international treaties by turning back asylum seekers as they will likely be persecuted when they return home for reasons of “race, religion, nationality or political beliefs.”

On the other hand, supporters of the Remain in Mexico policy say that it helped “deter asylum claims that lack merit.” Indeed, the number of people going to the U.S. to seek asylum have soared in recent years and the country became the world’s top destination for asylum seekers in 2017.

However, the same three-judge panel voted unanimously to suspend their previous order later on Friday. The suspension was done to give then government until end of Monday to file written arguments and for the plaintiffs to reply by Tuesday.

Donald Trump Donald Trump speaks at the First in the Nation Leadership Summit in Nashua, NH, on April 18, 2015 Andrew Cline /