Mon, 27 May 2019

Federal court rules Trump's asylum ban violates existing law

By Sheetal Sukhija, The Fiji News
21 Nov 2018, 01:46 GMT+10

CALIFORNIA, U.S. - In yet another setback for the Trump administration, its latest asylum ban was temporarily blocked by a U.S. federal judge.

The federal court in San Francisco ruled that the new asylum ban by the administration violates existing law and would cause irreparable harm to immigrants.

Trump's order, signed earlier this month, barred asylum for immigrants who enter the country illegally from Mexico.

On November 9, Trump cited an overwhelmed immigration system for signing the proclamation, which said that anyone crossing the U.S. southern border without passing through an official port, would be ineligible for asylum.

The President's asylum ban was challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Center for Constitutional Rights and others, that quickly filed lawsuits seeking to block the order.


However, Justice Department lawyers argued in a court filing that the President has "broad discretion to suspend the entry of aliens into the United States."

They wrote in the court filing that it is within the Trump administration's power to require asylum-seekers to present themselves at ports of entry.

The plaintiffs argued that the administration violated the Immigration and Nationality Act, or INA, which maintains that if a person makes it to U.S. soil, they are eligible to apply for asylum - even if they've crossed the border illegally.

On Monday, the U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco issued a temporary restraining order against the asylum rules.

Judge Tigar, an Obama-appointed judge, wrote, "Whatever the scope of the President's authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden. Defendants' claims that the rule can somehow be harmonized with the INA are not persuasive."

Adding, "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,"

Judge Tigar added that it "strains credulity" that an asylum-seeker's manner of entry into the U.S. can be the sole factory in declaring them ineligible for asylum.

He further pointed out that the immigrants the plaintiffs represent will suffer "irreparable injury" if the proclamation is put into full effect asylum seekers would face increased risks of violence and other harms at the border.

The order by the federal judge, which came as the latest legal defeat for Trump's immigration policy, came into immediate effect nationwide.

The order is set to remain in effect until December 19, when the judge will consider a more long-lasting injunction.

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