Immigration Law

Judge blocks Trump's ban on asylum claims by immigrants who don't enter through checkpoints

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A federal judge in San Francisco has ordered the Trump administration to accept asylum claims made by immigrants who cross the Southern border outside a port of entry.

U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar issued a nationwide temporary restraining order in an opinion filed late Monday, report the National Law Journal, the Washington Post and the New York Times. The TRO expires on the date of a hearing on a preliminary injunction, which is scheduled for Dec. 19.

The administration had issued an interim rule and presidential proclamation earlier this month that allowed asylum claims only by those who use ports of entry to come to the United States. Tigar said that banning asylum based on manner of entry conflicted with federal immigration law.

“Whatever the scope of the president’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” Tigar wrote. “Failure to comply with entry requirements such as arriving at a designated port of entry should bear little, if any, weight in the asylum process.”

Tigar said the administration’s rule change would force people “to choose between violence at the border, violence at home, or giving up a pathway to refugee status.”

The procedure before the rule change allowed any immigrant to assert an asylum claim and be screened by an asylum officer. If the officer found the immigrant had a credible fear of persecution in their home country, the immigrant was given a court date for the claim to be considered.

Under the new interim rule, those who cross outside ports of entry can’t ask for asylum, but they can ask for a “statutory withholding of removal” using different procedures.

Tigar ruled in a case filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Center for Constitutional Rights.

The U.S. Justice Department said in a statement that it will continue to defend its “legitimate and well-reasoned exercise of its authority to address the crisis at our southern border,” Reuters reports.

The statement said it was “absurd” that Tigar agreed to a request “to stop the entire federal government from acting so that illegal aliens can receive a government benefit to which they are not entitled.”

President Donald Trump also criticized the ruling on Tuesday, report the Washington Post and the Hill.

“This was an Obama judge and I’ll tell you what, it’s not going to happen like this anymore,” Trump said. “We will win that case in the Supreme Court of the United States.”

Trump said litigants who sue the United States file cases within the 9th Circuit “and then we get beaten up.”

“You go to the 9th Circuit and it’s a disgrace, and I’m going to put in a major complaint,” Trump said.

The case is East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Trump.

Updated at 4 p.m. to include the Justice Department’s reaction. Updated on Nov. 21 to include Trump’s reaction.

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