Trump’s Policy Banning Most Asylum-Seekers Has Been Blocked By A Judge

Central American immigrants wait in line at the El Chaparral border crossing in Tijuana, Mexico.

A federal court judge in San Francisco on Wednesday blocked a policy banning asylum for thousands of Central Americans and others who cross through Mexico to reach the southern border, dealing a significant blow to the Trump administration’s effort to restrict immigration.

As he granted a preliminary injunction Wednesday, Judge Jon Tigar, who was appointed by former president Barack Obama, said the Trump administration had overstepped by making a radical change to established asylum law.

“Under our laws, the right to determine whether a particular group of applicants is categorically barred from eligibility for asylum is conferred on Congress,” Tigar wrote.

Tigar’s order requires the Department of Homeland Security to immediately suspend implementation of the policy, which bars asylum for anyone who crosses through a third country but does not apply there for protection before reaching the US.

Hundreds of thousands of Central Americans and others were expected to have been affected by restrictions that went into place last week. The majority of the 688,375 immigrants apprehended at the southern border this year have traveled from Central America through Mexico.

The decision to block the policy is the latest in a string of legal losses for the Trump administration as it attempts to reshape the immigration system. Tigar is the same judge who blocked the administration in November from enforcing a policy to ban asylum for those who crossed the border without authorization.

Tigar’s ruling came on the same day US District Judge Timothy J. Kelly allowed for the government to continue enforcing the ban in a case heard in Washington, DC. It is expected that the government will appeal Tigar’s ruling soon.

In its lawsuit, the American Civil Liberties Union argued that the policy not only violated the Immigration and Nationality Act by preventing people crossing the border from obtaining asylum, but that the regulation also ran afoul of standard administrative procedures, like a period for the public to comment.

The decision will force those at DHS, including asylum officers at US Citizenship and Immigration Services, to immediately stop their work carrying out the restrictions.

One asylum officer told BuzzFeed News last week that she would not enforce the ban because she felt it was “illegal” and “immoral.”

More on this

  • The Trump Administration Will Let ICE Officials Deport Certain Immigrants Much FasterHamed Aleaziz · July 22, 2019
  • US Asylum Officers Have Been Told To Quickly Process Immigrants Subject To Trump’s BanHamed Aleaziz · July 19, 2019
  • Civil Servants Who Process Immigration Applications Are Being Asked To Help ICE InsteadHamed Aleaziz · July 17, 2019
  • An Asylum Officer Said She Won’t Enforce “Immoral” Asylum Standards At The US–Mexico BorderHamed Aleaziz · July 16, 2019

  1. Immigration
  • Hamed Aleaziz is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.

    Contact Hamed Aleaziz at [email protected]

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