ACLU, others, to challenge Trump policies on asylum seekers

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In an order laced with language accusing President Donald Trump of attempting to rewrite immigration laws, a federal judge based in San Francisco temporarily blocked the government late Monday night from denying asylum to those crossing over the southern border between ports of entry.

Homeland Security and the Justice Department had written new asylum rules this month banning people who illegally crossed the U.S. -Mexico border from lodging asylum claims, saying it was too much of an enticement to illegal immigration.

U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar issued a nationwide restraining order, saying migrants must be allowed to request asylum, no matter where they enter the U.S.

The Immigration and Naturalization Act passed by Congress says any immigrant who has arrived in the US may apply for asylum "whether or not at a designated port of arrival".

Tigar, whose court resides within the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, said the policy '"irreconcilably conflicts" with immigration law and the "expressed intent of Congress". The order will remain in effect until December 19, when the court will begin to hear arguments in service of making the restraining order permanent.

The Trump administration, represented by Department of Justice Civil Division Deputy Assistant Attorney General Scott Stewart, said the new rule does not conflict with Congress' because asylum seekers can still enter the USA if done through a designated port.


As a result of Tigar's restraining order, migrants may once again seek asylum either at legal entry points or after crossing illegally onto USA soil. She said those powers were upheld this year by the Supreme Court in the travel ban case. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif), the likely next appropriations chair for the DHS subcommittee, joined Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) in writing President Trump Monday urging him to rescind the presidential actions restricting asylum access at the U.S. -Mexico border, which, they said, "violate domestic and global law".

Around 70,000 people a year claim asylum between official ports of entry, according to the DHS.

LEE GELERNT: Congress has specifically said people can apply for asylum regardless of where they enter.

Clashing with the USA government is a frightening prospect for migrants.

"If this rule stays in effect, people are going to die", Melissa Crow, senior supervising attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center, said after the hearing.

New barricades at border Huge barricades and walls of concertina wire went up on both sides of a US-Mexico border crossing as the migrant caravan reached Tijuana, the last stop before California.


ICE officials admitted there is no written agreement, and instead they must seek permission for every deportee - permission that Iraq usually denies, unless the deportee has said he or she wants to be sent back.

Tigar's decision - and the administration's attempt to characterize the migrants as violent - sets the stage for hard choices on both sides of the U.S. -Mexico border.

President Donald Trump issued a proclamation on November 9 that says anyone who crossed the southern border would be ineligible for asylum. The complex legal process takes at least 40 days to accomplish, so a daily intake of 100 people per day adds up to roughly 4,000 people in detention from one entry point.

Per the Post, the Justice Department's lawyer tried unsuccessfully to convince Tigar that there was a "crushing strain" of people trying to cross the southern border illegally.

'Individuals are entitled to asylum if they cross between ports of entry, ' said Baher Azmy, a lawyer for the Center for Constitutional Rights, which sued the government alongside the American Civil Liberties Union. "Congress has been clear on this point for decades".


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