Judge Rules Against Trump on Asylum Restrictions

Published on September 9, 2019 by Athena Pallas

Today a federal judge ruled to reinstate a nationwide injunction, barring the Trump administration from imposing broad restrictions on immigrants seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. The Trump administration’s restrictions would make ineligible for asylum any asylum seekers passing through a third country on their way to the U.S.-Mexico border, insisting instead that they seek asylum in that third country or Mexico. Those restrictions, which would have a narrow range of exceptions for human trafficking victims and for those refused asylum in the interceding countries, would most have impacted immigrants from Central American countries traveling through Central America and Mexico to get to the United States. These proposed restrictions are yet another method the Trump administration has attempted to employ in order to curb immigration, including asylum seeking, into the United States, particularly when the immigrants in question are from Central America.

U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar, who made today’s ruling, had also made the initial ruling in favor of a nationwide injunction in July. That ruling was appealed by the Trump administration, however, and while the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Tigar’s ruling, they narrowed the scope of the injunction from nationwide to just California and Arizona, due to that court’s jurisdictional issues. When making that ruling upholding Tigar’s decision, the appeals court then turned the questioned back to Tigar, who was then able to reinstate the nationwide injunction, which he did today. The Trump administration last month asked the Supreme Court to overturn Tigar’s original injunction, but that court has not become involved as of yet. According to The Hill:

A federal judge in California on Monday reinstated a ban on the implementation of a Trump administration policy that would restrict migrants’ ability to apply for asylum at the southern border. U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar had issued a nationwide injunction in July blocking the rule, which would make most asylum-seekers who pass through another country before reaching the U.S. ineligible for asylum… The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Tigar’s initial ruling but narrowed the injunction to only border states within its jurisdiction – California and Arizona – before sending the question back to Tigar. Tigar said Monday that the injunction should apply nationwide because the asylum rule represents a case where “such breadth is necessary to remedy a plaintiff’s harm.” The Trump administration last month asked the Supreme Court to lift Tigar’s injunction.

Despite this loss, the Trump administration is certainly likely to appeal the ruling further, but it remains to be seen if the Supreme Court will weigh in on this issue. In the meantime Judge Tigar’s nationwide injunction stops the administration’s asylum restrictions from going into effect.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons.

UPDATE, 9/10/2019 @ 4:30PM CDT: The Trump administration has now asked the Supreme Court to overturn Judge Tigar’s nationwide injunction. According to The Hill, “The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday to lift an order preventing it from enforcing a rule that would limit migrants’ ability to apply for asylum after a federal judge reimposed a ban on the rule the day before.” The Supreme Court has not yet indicated if it will agree to take up the matter.