Obama-Appointed Judge Blocks Biden’s Rule Limiting Asylum For Migrants

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A federal judge blocked the Biden administration’s new asylum rule for migrants Tuesday.

The policy, implemented in May following the expiration of Title 42, denies asylum to migrants who pass through a safe country on the way to the United States and do not seek protection there. The ACLU, along with the National Immigrant Justice Center and the UC Hastings for Gender and Refugee Studies, filed a lawsuit May 11 shortly after the policy took effect.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Judge Jon S. Tigar, an Obama appointee, found the policy to be “contrary to law” because it violates Congress’ intent.

“The Court concludes that the Rule is contrary to law because it presumes ineligible for asylum noncitizens who enter between ports of entry, using a manner of entry that Congress expressly intended should not affect access to asylum,” Tigar wrote. “The Rule is also contrary to law because it presumes ineligible for asylum noncitizens who fail to apply for protection in a transit country, despite Congress’s clear intent that such a factor should only limit access to asylum where the transit country actually presents a safe option.” (RELATED: ACLU Sues To Block Biden Asylum Ban)

President Joe Biden speaks on renewable energy at the Philly Shipyard on July 20, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

“The Rule operates just as the Trump administration’s prior asylum bans did: Asylum seekers subject to the Rule—all non-Mexicans—are categorically barred unless they satisfy one of the enumerated and limited conditions or exceptions,” the lawsuit filed in May alleges.

Tigar stayed the order for 14 days to give the Biden administration an opportunity to appeal. The Biden administration appealed to the Ninth Circuit shortly after the judge’s order was issued.

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas said in a statement that they “strongly disagree with today’s ruling and are confident that the Circumvention of Lawful Pathways rule is lawful.”

“To be clear, because the district court temporarily stayed its decision, today’s ruling does not change anything immediately,” he said. “It does not limit our ability to deliver consequences for unlawful entry. Do not believe the lies of smugglers. Those who fail to use one of the many lawful pathways we have expanded will be presumed ineligible for asylum and, if they do not have a basis to remain, will be subject to prompt removal, a minimum five-year bar on admission, and potential criminal prosecution for unlawful reentry.”

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