Posted on November 20, 2018

Judge Blocks Trump Administration from Denying Asylum Claims to Immigrants Who Cross Border Illegally

Ariane de Vogue, Catherine E. Shoichet and Joe Sutton, CNN, November 20, 2018

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.

Judge Jon S. Tigar of the US 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.”

{snip} 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 Department of Homeland Security and Justice Department slammed the ruling and the lawsuit, calling them both “absurd.”

“{snip} It is absurd that a set of advocacy groups can be found to have standing to sue to stop the entire federal government from acting so that illegal aliens can receive a government benefit to which they are not entitled,” Homeland Security spokeswoman Katie Waldeman and Justice Department spokesman Steven Stafford said in a statement.

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 order is the latest setback for the administration that has sought to crack down on what it says are flaws in the immigration system, and it is a victory for the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center and other groups who argued it is illegal to block someone based on how they entered the country.


The Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security argued that the President has the right to suspend entry by individuals into the United States if he determines it to be in the national interest.

“As the Supreme Court affirmed this summer, Congress has given the President broad authority to limit or even stop the entry of aliens into this country. Further, asylum is a discretionary benefit given by the Executive Branch only when legal conditions are met and a favorable exercise of discretion is warranted,” Waldman and Stafford said in the joint statement from the departments. “It is lawful and appropriate that this discretionary benefit not be given to those who violate a lawful and tailored presidential proclamation aimed at controlling immigration in the national interest.