Michelle Hackman, Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2019
Migrants who were put on a waiting list to apply for asylum at the U.S. southern border before mid-July aren’t subject to a new restriction on asylum, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.
The Department of Homeland Security issued a rule on July 16 making migrants who arrived after that date ineligible for asylum if they passed through another country en route to the U.S. without first making an asylum claim in that third country. The rule, which the Supreme Court allowed to take effect while litigation proceeds, effectively bars most migrants other than Mexican nationals from qualifying for asylum.
Under a different Trump administration policy, ports of entry along the border — where migrants can present themselves to make asylum claims without crossing the border illegally — have been accepting small numbers of migrants each day, a process known as “metering.” Migrants can arrive at a port of entry but be told they must wait their turn, which can last days or weeks, before border agents can process them.
The judge, an Obama appointee, granted class-action status to the migrants — Central Americans who joined metering lists before July 16.
The plaintiffs are represented by the California-based nonprofit Al Otro Lado and the Southern Poverty Law Center.