In what the ACLU called \u0022another defeat for the Trump administration\u0026#039;s all-out assault on the rights of asylum-seekers,\u0022 a federal judge on Wednesday struck down much of a \u0022horrific\u0022 U.S. Justice Department guidance issued by ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions in June which declared that migrants fleeing domestic abuse or gang violence would no longer automatically qualify for asylum.\u0022The government\u0026#039;s attempt to obliterate asylum protections is unlawful and inconsistent with our country\u0026#039;s longstanding commitment to provide protection to immigrants fleeing for their lives.\u0022—Jennifer Chang Newell, ACLUJudge Emmet G. Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for D.C. detailed in his ruling (pdf) how the administration\u0026#039;s \u0022new credible fear policies are arbitrary, capricious, and in violation of the immigration laws.\u0022 In addition to permanently blocking the guidance, Sullivan also ordered the federal government \u0022to return to the United States the plaintiffs who were unlawfully deported and to provide them with new credible fear determinations\u0022 that align with national immigration legislation.In other words, the court found that \u0022the government\u0026#039;s attempt to obliterate asylum protections is unlawful and inconsistent with our country\u0026#039;s longstanding commitment to provide protection to immigrants fleeing for their lives,\u0022 as Jennifer Chang Newell of the ACLU\u0026#039;s Immigrants\u0026#039; Rights Project, who argued the case, put it.\u0022Judge Sullivan\u0026#039;s decision ensures that our asylum system remains open to refugees at our border, including those fleeing domestic violence and gang violence,\u0022 added Eunice Lee, co-legal director of the Center for Gender \u0026amp; Refugee Studies, which joined the ACLU in the case. \u0022These individuals raise legitimate claims under U.S. and international law, and have an unequivocal right to seek asylum.\u0022Victory! We are thrilled to share that today a federal judge issued a decision in Grace v. Whitaker, our lawsuit with the @ACLU, ruling that the U.S. must keep the door open for refugees fleeing domestic violence and gang brutality.https://t.co/1VKI0tCJ3b pic.twitter.com/QjTRDQW6V8— CGRS (@CGRShastings) December 19, 2018The guidance issued by Sessions—who was forced out by President Donald Trump hours after the midterm elections and replaced with Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker—had been denounced by immigrant rights advocates, legal experts, and dozens of Democratic lawmakers as not only cruel, but in clear violation of U.S. and international law. Sullivan\u0026#039;s ruling comes as the Trump administration is engaged in a multi-pronged effort to curb all forms of migration at the U.S. southern border.\u0022This administration has engaged in a years-long attack on the asylum system, designed to punish refugees in order to score cheap political points,\u0022 declared the group Human Rights First. \u0022We\u0026#039;re glad that today the court saw these policies for what they are: illegal, and incompatible with our values.\u0022This administration has engaged in a years-long attack on the asylum system, designed to punish refugees in order to score cheap political points. We’re glad that today the court saw these policies for what they are: illegal, and incompatible with our values. https://t.co/mGPQ1bvML3— Human Rights First (@humanrights1st) December 19, 2018\u0022Survivors of domestic violence and gang violence have already been terrorized at home and have made the dangerous journey to the U.S. to seek protection. They have the right to seek protection in the United States as they flee to escape violence, trauma, and extreme danger in Central America,\u0022 Tarah Demant, director of Amnesty International USA\u0026#039;s Gender, Sexuality, and Identity Program, said in a statement.\u0022The U.S. government was wrong to turn its back and unlawfully deport them under this dangerous policy, which we know can mean life or death for many,\u0022 Demant added. \u0022In light of this ruling, the U.S must allow others to return they can finally seek the protection they need before it\u0026#039;s too late.\u0022While celebrating the court victory in D.C., the advocacy group United We Dream pointed to federal agents firing rubber bullets and tear gas at migrants last month, and reiterated its call that Congress defund two key agencies overseen by the Department of Homeland Security: Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).BREAKING: A federal court permanently struck down Trump\u0026#039;s asylum ban. We will not forget CBP shooting rubber bullets and teargas to migrants at the border.Beyond this ruling, we need to defund ICE \u0026amp; CBP! CALL to #DefundHate: 210-702-3059 https://t.co/tCjqQMFv09— United We Dream (@UNITEDWEDREAM) December 19, 2018This post has been updated with comment from Amnesty International USA.