The Biden administration is reversing a series of Trump-era immigration rulings that narrowed asylum standards by denying protection to victims of domestic violence and those who said they were threatened by gangs in their home country.

Originally published by CNN

A federal judge in California on Thursday appeared to defend his decision to block new asylum restrictions after a ruling from the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals narrowed the injunction last month.In July, US District Judge Jon Tigar halted the Trump administration’s rule that dramatically limits the ability of Central American migrants to claim asylum if they enter the US by land through Mexico. Nearly a month later, the 9th Circuit dialed back the injunction, saying it can apply only to migrants claiming asylum in California and Arizona, states that fall under the 9th Circuit’s jurisdiction.That ruling handed President Donald Trump a partial win, as the administration works to usher forward its immigration agenda. But it’s unclear how long the administration will be able to hold on to that victory.

“I do think I have the authority to make a clear ruling in favor of my prior injunction as it was issued, if I believe the record supports that ruling,” Tigar said in a hearing Thursday.

Over the course of an hour, Tigar walked through what he believed the 9th Circuit’s ruling to mean, saying there appeared to be some ambiguity.”I take (it) to say, ‘Judge Tigar, you seem to assume in a situation like this a nationwide injunction is appropriate. You shouldn’t make that assumption. Please explain yourself,’ ” the judge said.The American Civil Liberties Union, which is challenging the asylum rule along with other groups, outlined the additional evidence it provided to shore up its case against the rule. The Justice Department lawyer pushed back against that evidence, saying it still didn’t meet the “tremendous burden.”The asylum restrictions are one of many policy changes the Trump administration has had challenged in court.The rule, which was issued from the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security in July, would prohibit migrants who have resided in or traveled through third countries from seeking asylum in the US, therefore barring migrants traveling through Mexico from being able to claim asylum. The new rule would severely limit who’s eligible for asylum.Immigrant advocacy groups have claimed the rule is unlawful and leaves migrants in harm’s way.The Trump administration, however, is trying to push forward with the rule. Late last month, the administration asked the Supreme Court to allow the rule to go into effect nationwide while a lower court ruling blocking it is appealed.The Supreme Court has yet to act on the request.

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Originally published by The New York Times

A federal judge has ordered the Trump administration to stop denying asylum to anyone who transits through another country to reach the U.S. border, marking the latest legal defeat for a president waging an all-out battle to stem the flow of migrants entering from Mexico.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco on Wednesday came hours after another federal judge in Washington, D.C., let the 9-day-old policy stand. The California judge’s preliminary injunction halts the policy while the lawsuit plays out in court.

The new policy denies asylum to anyone who passes through another country on the way to the U.S. without seeking protection there. Most crossing the Mexican border are from Central America, but it would apply to all nationalities except countries that border the U.S.

The dramatic change went into effect last week, though there were conflicting reports on whether U.S. immigration agencies were enforcing it.

Top U.S. officials said the policy would discourage migrants from leaving their countries, which they say is necessary to reduce the numbers of people that U.S. authorities are detaining.

The White House condemned the judge’s order, calling it “tyranny of a dysfunctional system.”

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Thursday the plaintiffs in the case had found “a single district judge who will purport to dictate immigration policy to the entire Nation.” She said President Donald Trump will “pursue all available options to address this meritless ruling and to defend this Nation’s borders.”

Tigar, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, halted another Trump policy last year to deny asylum to people who crossed the border illegally.

The judge said the policy could expose migrants to violence and abuse, deny their rights under international law and return them to countries they were fleeing. He cited the administration’s own court filings to argue that Mexico was unsafe.

Tigar acknowledged that the U.S. immigration system is overwhelmed by the surge in migrants from Central America over the last year.

“But shortcutting the law, or weakening the boundary between Congress and the Executive, are not the solutions to these problems,” he wrote.

Trump told reporters before his departure for a fundraiser in West Virginia on Wednesday that the decision earlier Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly, a Trump appointee, was a “tremendous ruling.” He added: “We appreciate it. We respect the courts very much. That helps us very much at the border.”

The California judge ruled in favor of advocacy groups represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Melissa Crow, an attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said the decision was “an important victory for incredibly vulnerable individuals and families from besieged Central American countries seeking refuge in our country.”

“We will continue to fight this draconian policy as well as the myriad of others through which the Trump administration continues to wage war on asylum-seekers and our nation’s asylum system,” Crow said.

The policy would have limited exceptions that would allow for asylum: if someone has been trafficked, if an asylum seeker sought protection in a country but was denied or if the country the migrant passed through did not sign one of the major international treaties that govern how refugees are managed, though most Western countries have signed them.

The decision came as tens of thousands of people are waiting in Mexico on official and unofficial lists formed after U.S. agents started turning away many asylum seekers, citing lack of space and delays in immigration courts. They also include people are forced to wait in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. immigration policy, another Trump policy that has so far survived a legal challenge.

Tigar’s ruling is the latest example of courts dealing Trump a setback on immigration policy. A court stopped the administration from detaining asylum seekers without giving them a chance to be released on bond.

A judge in Oakland, California, prevented the Trump administration from tapping $2.5 billion in Pentagon money to build border walls. The administration has appealed that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court and asked for a ruling by Friday.


Taxin reported from Santa Ana, California, and Khalil reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Elliot Spagat in San Diego, Colleen Long in Washington and Nomaan Merchant in Houston contributed to this report.

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Originally published by CNN

A federal judge in Washington declined to block the Trump administration’s new asylum rule that dramatically limits the ability of Central American migrants to claim asylum if they enter the US by land through Mexico.US District Judge Timothy Kelly, a Trump appointee, said Wednesday that plaintiffs didn’t meet the threshold of irreparable harm. The ruling is specific to a temporary restraining order. Proceedings will continue for a preliminary injunction.

The rule, which was implemented a little over a week ago, from the departments of Justice and Homeland Security would prohibit migrants who have resided or “transited en route” in a third country from seeking asylum in the US, therefore barring migrants traveling through Mexico from being able to claim asylum and as a result, drastically limit who’s eligible for asylum.Kelly explained in his oral ruling that, among other things, the plaintiffs had not specified harm that is “irremediable” within the time frame of a temporary restraining order.Acting USCIS Director Ken Cuccinelli touted the ruling in a tweet Wednesday: “A major victory for @realDonaldTrump’s efforts to stop the crisis at our Southern border.”While Wednesday’s ruling is the first on the administration’s new asylum rule, it’s not the end. Plaintiffs have also asked for a preliminary injunction. To that end, Kelly noted that some of the same issues he found in their latest arguments might continue to hold true moving forward, though he emphasized his thoughts were “preliminary.”The plaintiffs in the case, which include Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, and other groups, argued in their motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction that, among other things, the rule ran afoul of the Immigration and Nationality Act. They also called the rule “cruel and unlawful.”The plaintiffs also argued that the rule harms their organization’s ability to work with asylum seekers.”We are disappointed in the court’s decision today, but we will continue to fight to ensure that this harmful rule does not unjustly impact children and adults who apply for asylum as well as immigration legal service providers’ ability to help asylum seekers,”said Claudia Cubas, Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition’s litigation director.”This new rule is contrary to our laws and we will continue to challenge this attempt to remove asylum eligibly from those who are fleeing violence and persecution around the world,” she added.The asylum rule immediately faced legal challenges last week. The day the rule went into effect, Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition and the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups sued the administration in order to block the new restrictions.A motion hearing on the rule is also scheduled to take place later today before a federal judge in the Northern District Court of California.This story is breaking and will be updated.

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