Mon | Nov 30, 2020

Judge reinstates nationwide halt on Trump asylum policy plan

Published:Monday | September 9, 2019 | 3:23 PM
In this July 17, 2019, file photo, a United States Customs and Border Protection Officer checks the documents of migrants before being taken to apply for asylum in the United States, on International Bridge 1 in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File)

OAKLAND, California (AP) — A U.S. judge in California on Monday reinstated a nationwide halt on the Trump administration’s plan to prevent most migrants from seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.

U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar ruled in Oakland that an injunction blocking the administration’s policy from taking effect should apply nationwide.

Tigar blocked the policy in July after a lawsuit by groups that help asylum seekers.

But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals limited the impact of Tigar’s injunction to states within the area overseen by the appeals court.

That meant the policy was blocked in the border states of California and Arizona but not in New Mexico and Texas.

In his ruling, Tigar stressed a “need to maintain uniform immigration policy” and found that nonprofit organisations such as Al Otro Lado don’t know where asylum seekers who enter the U.S. will end up living and making their case to remain in the country.

“The court recognised there is grave danger facing asylum-seekers along the entire stretch of the southern border,” Lee Gelernt, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement.

Mark Morgan, acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, criticised the ruling at a White House briefing.

“I’m frustrated at the unprecedented judicial activism that we have experienced every single time that this administration comes up with what we believe is a legal rule or policy that we really believe that will address this crisis, we end up getting enjoined,” he said.

“It’s very, very frustrating.”

The courts have halted some of Trump’s key policy shifts on immigration, including an earlier version of an asylum ban.

The president has prevailed on several fronts after initial legal setbacks, for example, when the Supreme Court recently lifted a freeze on using Pentagon money to build border walls.

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