By Jon Dougherty
(NationalSentinel) A federal judge in California has reimposed a nationwide injunction against a new asylum rule implemented by the Trump administration which required migrants passing through stable countries like Mexico to apply for asylum there, in accordance with current law.
U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar, an Obama appointee, wrote in his order, “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.”
He further noted that a “uniform immigration policy” is a necessity, and claimed that a ruling by an appeals court of the Ninth Circuit did not bar him from reapplying a nationwide injunction against the Trump administration rule.
In July, the administration began the process of confirming a rule that seeks to block Central American migrants from coming all the way to the U.S. to present request asylum after traveling through Mexico and other countries first.
The Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security (“DOJ,” “DHS,” or collectively, “the Departments”) are adopting an interim final rule (“interim rule” or “rule”) governing asylum claims in the context of aliens who enter or attempt to enter the United States across the southern land border after failing to apply for protection from persecution or torture while in a third country through which they transited en route to the United States.
Pursuant to statutory authority, the Departments are amending their respective regulations to provide that, with limited exceptions, an alien who enters or attempts to enter the United States across the southern border after failing to apply for protection in a third country outside the alien’s country of citizenship, nationality, or last lawful habitual residence through which the alien transited en route to the United States is ineligible for asylum.
“While the recent supplemental funding was absolutely vital to helping confront the crisis, the truth is that it will not be enough without targeted changes to the legal framework of our immigration system. Until Congress can act, this interim rule will help reduce a major ‘pull’ factor driving irregular migration to the United States and enable DHS and DOJ to more quickly and efficiently process cases originating from the southern border, leading to fewer individuals transiting through Mexico on a dangerous journey,” DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan said at the time.
“This Rule is a lawful exercise of authority provided by Congress to restrict eligibility for asylum. The United States is a generous country but is being completely overwhelmed by the burdens associated with apprehending and processing hundreds of thousands of aliens along the southern border,” Attorney General Bill Barr said.
“This Rule will decrease forum shopping by economic migrants and those who seek to exploit our asylum system to obtain entry to the United States—while ensuring that no one is removed from the United States who is more likely than not to be tortured or persecuted on account of a protected ground,” he continued.
Tigar, however, doesn’t think so.
The Washington Post noted that the appeals panel did not believe plaintiffs had presented enough evidence earlier this summer to warrant a nationwide injunction. Therefore, the higher court said Tigar’s injunction was geographically limited:
The panel said the injunction should apply only in the border states within the 9th Circuit, California and Arizona. That removed the restriction in Texas and New Mexico. A U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the matter’s sensitivity, said the new rule is being applied along the border in those states.
Tigar said he interpreted the 9th Circuit’s ruling to mean he was free to reimpose the nationwide injunction if there was evidence to warrant it. Because some of the organizations have clients outside the 9th Circuit, he said, only a nationwide injunction would supply the relief to which they were entitled.
Needless to say, the White House criticized Tigar’s ruling.
“Immigration and border security policy cannot be run by any single district court judge who decides to issue a nationwide injunction,” the administration said in a statement. “This ruling is a gift to human smugglers and traffickers and undermines the rule of law.”
Currently, the U.S. Supreme Court is weighing an emergency appeal in the case over whether an injunction should be implemented until the issue is fully litigated.
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