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A Judge Has Once Again Blocked The Trump Administration's New Restrictions On Asylum

“This ruling will save lives,” said an attorney with the ACLU who argued the case.

Posted on December 19, 2018, at 8:27 p.m. ET

Mario Tama / Getty Images

A girl looks toward the US at the US–Mexico border fence in Tijuana, Mexico.

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge on Wednesday extended a ruling blocking the Trump administration’s policy that bars asylum for those who cross into the country without authorization.

The ruling, issued by Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco, prevents the administration from enforcing the policy as the case moves forward. Previously, in November, Tigar had issued a temporary restraining order preventing the administration from carrying out the policy through midnight Wednesday.

In the meantime, the Trump administration unsuccessfully appealed Tigar’s previous order to the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which denied its stay request, and has since asked the US Supreme Court to put that order on hold. The Supreme Court had not yet ruled on the case.

The preliminary injunction represents yet another loss for the Trump administration’s immigration policies in federal court.

“The harms to those seeking asylum are also even clearer, and correspondingly the public interest more plainly supports injunctive relief. Not surprisingly then, the result of the present motion is the same: the Court again concludes that Plaintiffs have established an overwhelming likelihood that the new rule barring asylum is invalid,” Tigar wrote in his ruling. “Accordingly, the Court will grant Plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction.”

The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the lawsuit against the policy, said the 9th Circuit Court’s ruling was a big win for migrants at the border.

“The court has once again made clear that the Trump administration cannot do an end-run around the decision by Congress to provide protection to vulnerable individuals regardless of where they seek asylum,” said Lee Gelernt, an attorney with the ACLU who argued the case in front of Tigar. “This ruling will save lives.”

Earlier Wednesday, Tigar held a hearing over the preliminary injunction in his courtroom and appeared likely to continue to block the policy as the case went forward.

On Nov. 9, President Trump signed a proclamation that suspended entry into the US from the southern border. The order gave teeth to regulations announced by the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security a day before that said anyone cited in a presidential proclamation would not be eligible for asylum. The order directed administration officials to recommend within 90 days whether the policy should continue.

In a Dec. 7 denial of the Trump administration’s request to stay Tigar’s initial order, US Circuit Judge Jay Bybee said the administration had attempted an “end-around” of Congress.

“The Proclamation attempts to accomplish one thing,” Bybee wrote. “In combination with the Rule, it does indirectly what the Executive cannot do directly: amend the [Immigration and Nationality Act]. Just as we may not, as we are often reminded, ‘legislate from the bench,’ neither may the Executive legislate from the Oval Office.”


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