Saying the President Donald Trump had exceeded his presidential authority, a federal judge later Monday ruled against the president's attempt to restrict the abilities of refugees seeking asylum at the U.S. border and imposed a restraining order that directs the administration to resume accepting asylum claims from people regardless of where or how they enter country.
Judge Jon S. Tigar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California said that a policy announced November 9 barring asylum for immigrants who enter outside a legal check point '"irreconcilably conflicts" with immigration law and the "expressed intent of Congress."
"Whatever the scope of the President's authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden," Tigar wrote, adding that asylum seekers would be put at "increased risk of violence and other harms at the border" if the administration's rule is allowed to go into effect.
The temporary restraining order is effective nationwide and will remain in effect until December 19, when the judge has scheduled another hearing, or further order of the court.
The challenge against Trump's move to bar people from claiming asylum outside of designated points of entry, like border checkpoints, said the administration was violating both the Immigration and Nationality Act as well as the Administrative Procedure Act by doing so.
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Immigrant rights groups praised the ruling.
BREAKING: A Federal Judge has ordered that the Administration must resume accepting asylum claims from migrants no matter where or how they entered the U.S.
Requesting asylum is a right! https://t.co/geThWfT4sh
— Voto Latino (@votolatino) November 20, 2018
"This ban is illegal, will put people's lives in danger and raises the alarm about President Trump's disregard for separation of powers," said Lee Gelernt of the ACLU, which along with the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Center for Constitutional Rights had challenged the president. "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."
Interested in how many people are actually seeking asylum in the U.S.? In how many are being processed, versus turned away? In what the U.S.'s actual capacity is to process asylum seekers? Check out our Asylum Ban By The Numbers factsheet. pic.twitter.com/v1dS5B8p0B
— Vince Warren (@VinceWarren) November 19, 2018
"This is a critical step in fighting back against President Trump’s war on asylum seekers," Melissa Crow, senior supervising attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said in a statement. "While the new rule purports to facilitate orderly processing of asylum seekers at ports of entry, Customs and Border Protection has a longstanding policy and practice of turning back individuals who do exactly what the rule prescribes. These practices are clearly unlawful and cannot stand."