Federal Judge Blocks Trump's Limitations on Caravan and Other Asylum-Seekers

By Susan Jones | November 20, 2018 | 5:40 AM EST

A caravan of more than 1,500 Honduran migrants moves north after crossing the border from Honduras into Guatemala on October 15, 2018 in Esquipulas, Guatemala. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - On November 9, President Donald Trump signed an order saying that "aliens who enter the United States unlawfully through the southern border...will be ineligible to be granted asylum."

Ten days later, on Monday, a federal judge in San Francisco blocked the president's attempt to limit mass illegal immigration.

Judge Jon Tigar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a temporary restraining order, after finding that the Trump administration's limitations on asylum are "inconsistent with the law written by Congress."

Judge Tigar noted that Congress passed a law in 1996 saying that aliens who enter the United States illegally are "inadmissible," but that doesn't mean they can't apply for asylum.

According to Tigar's ruling: "Separately from the question of admissibility, Congress has clearly commanded that immigrants be eligible for asylum regardless of where they enter."

The judge said the Trump administration may not continue to implement the new rule, and he ordered the administration to "return to the pre-rule practices for processing asylum applications."

The temporary restraining order will remain in effect pending further arguments in the case, now set for Dec. 19.

Judge Tigar found that the immigration advocates who filed the claim "are likely to succeed on the merits" of their argument that the administration's move to limit asylum "contravenes Congress’s judgment to give full consideration to asylum seekers’ claims regardless of their failure to comply with entry requirements."

The judge wrote: "The rule barring asylum for immigrants who enter the country outside a port of entry irreconcilably conflicts with the INA and the expressed intent of Congress.  Whatever the scope of he President’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden."

The American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Center for Constitutional Rights acted on behalf of the illegal immigrant plaintiffs, which include East Bay Sanctuary Covenant; Al Otro Lado; Innovation Law Lab; and the Central American Resource Center in Los Angeles.

In a statement, Lee Gelernt, the ACLU attorney who argued the case, said the Trump "asylum ban" is "illegal, will put people’s lives in danger, and raises the alarm about President Trump’s disregard for separation of powers.

"There is no justifiable reason to flatly deny people the right to apply for asylum, and we cannot send them back to danger based on the manner of their entry. Congress has been clear on this point for decades,” Gelernt added.

The complaint charges the administration with violating the Immigration and Nationality Act as well as the Administrative Procedure Act.

According to Fox News, which has a reporter on the scene, as many as 6,000 migrants are now waiting on the Mexican side of the border for entry into the U.S. Another 8,000 are on the way north. Fox News quoted the Homeland Security Department as saying that some 500 criminals are traveling with the caravan, which is mostly comprised of single adult or teenage males.


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