Things That Matter

A Federal Judge Just Blocked The Trump Administration’s Attempt To Block Asylum Seekers From Entering The US

A California federal judge has restored a nationwide injunction on Monday, effectively blocking the Trump administration from denying asylum to migrants who have not first applied for refuge in a “third country” they’ve traveled through. This is just the latest twist in an ongoing legal battle that started back in July when both the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice announced the measure. The ban would have basically ended asylum for individuals whose only option is to travel upward through Mexico and other Latin American countries.

San Francisco-based U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar had previously issued a nationwide injunction blocking the rule. The ruling was then upheld last month by the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals who narrowed the ban only border states within its jurisdiction, California and Arizona. The question was then sent back to Tigar. On Monday, he ruled it should apply across the entire U.S. border, pending a trial on the legality of the Trump administration ban. 

“The question now before the court is whether those harms can be addressed by any relief short of a nationwide injunction. The answer is that they cannot,” Tigar in his ruling. The injunction now in effect is deeply flawed and should be stayed pending appeal and pending any further proceedings in this Court. 

The ban is a major part of President Trump’s anti-immigration policy and a key issue of his reelection campaign.  

Credit: @haleaziz / Twitter

The reinstatement of the injunction is another blow to the Trump administration that has made multiple attempts to lower the number of asylum seekers at the southern border. Mexico deployed more than 5,000 troops to their southern border back in June after President Trump threatened to place tariffs on Mexican imports if the country didn’t help deter the number of Central American migrants passing through.

To this point, the deployment of troops seems to have had some effect on the flow of immigration as  U.S. Customs and Border Patrol announced last week that the number of border apprehensions dropped by more than 56 percent since peaking back in May at 144,255.

President Trump told reporters on Monday that he didn’t agree with the judges ruling. “I think it’s very unfair that he does that,” Trump told reporters. “I don’t think it should be allowed.”

“Immigration and border security policy cannot be run by any single district court judge who decides to issue a nationwide injunction,” the White House said in a statement. “This ruling is a gift to human smugglers and traffickers and undermines the rule of law. We previously asked the Supreme Court to set aside the district court’s injunction in its entirety, our request remains pending with the Court, and we look forward to it acting on our request.”

Many immigration and legal unions are celebrating the ruling who see the judges decision as a huge win for asylum seekers.  

Credit: @ACLU / Twitter

When the rule was announced back in July it quickly drew legal challenges from several immigrant-rights groups which accused the Trump administration of imposing a virtual asylum ban. They also saw the rule as setting a dangerous precedent and in return hurting the safety and security of migrants seeking safety in the U.S.

“The court recognized there is grave danger facing asylum-seekers along the entire stretch of the southern border.” Lee Gelernt, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney who argued the case, said in a statement.  

Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan didn’t agree with the ruling as he told reporters that he was “frustrated” and described it as a result of “unprecedented judicial activism.” “It’s very very frustrating but we’re going to keep going. We’ll continue to work within the current legal framework address this,” Morgan said at the White House on Monday morning.

Melissa Crow, an attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center, said in a statement that while Tigar’s ruling is a step in the right direction there still remain many hurdles for asylum seekers. 

“This ruling levels the playing field for all the vulnerable individuals and families seeking refuge in the United States. With this decision, regardless of where they cross the border, these people should be able to seek asylum. Sadly, while this ruling removes a major hurdle, far too many obstacles remain, as this administration’s war on asylum-seekers appears to know no bounds.”

READ: Trump Has Made It More Difficult For Cubans To Seek Asylum So Many Are Being Forced To Settle In Mexico

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