The Department of Homeland Security ordered asylum officers to no longer apply a Trump administration policy that barred some immigrants from requesting asylum at the southern border.
Asylum officers were told not to apply the third-country transit asylum ban when conducting credible fear interviews, an initial step in the asylum process, according to guidance obtained by BuzzFeed News. It comes less than 24 hours after a federal judge struck the policy down.
The Trump administration's asylum transit ban required immigrants to first seek protection in another country they traveled through and be denied there before asking for refuge in the US.
Late Tuesday night, US District Judge Timothy Kelly said the administration had “unlawfully” put the rule into effect.
Under the policy, those who crossed through a third country, such as Mexico, before arriving at the southwest border were denied asylum in the initial screening interview and were forced to apply for more limited protections that are difficult to obtain.
Wednesday's guidance applies to asylum-seekers who have yet to receive a final decision in their credible fear interviews.
The impact of the ruling appears could be limited, however, as DHS has already turned back thousands of asylum-seekers at the border as part of a pandemic-related policy the Trump administration has said is necessary to stop the spread of the coronavirus. DHS will continue to bar asylum-seekers under that policy.