A federal court has blocked the Trump administration’s new policy on asylum claims ban.
Under a new asylum rule that the US Government announced last week, migrants who entered the US crossing the southern border are not eligible to seek asylum in the United States if they did not apply first in one of the countries they have traveled through.
Mexico is the country of transit for most of the US-bound immigrants who start their journey from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costarica or Nicaragua, and enter the United States through the southern border.
The new policy stipulates that only immigrants whose asylum applications are denied in a third country or who have been subjected to severe human trafficking are eligible to apply for US asylum.
The American Civil Liberties Union, Southern Poverty Law Center, and Center for Constitutional Rights filed a lawsuit in a court in San Francisco seeking preliminary injunction to the July 16 rule by the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security, entitled “Asylum Eligibility and Procedural Modifications”, briefly known as the “third country transit bar”.
The US District Court in Northern District of California granted the injunction, and made it clear that the new rule is invalid because it is inconsistent with the existing immigration laws passed by Congress.
Judge Jon S. Tigar noted that the US government made the rule effective without giving persons affected by it and the general public the chance to submit their views.
He expressed concern that asylum claimants removed to Mexico are likely to be exposed to violence and abuse, denied their rights under Mexican and international law, and wrongly returned to countries from which they fled persecution.
Welcoming the court’s verdict, Baher Azmy, Center for Constitutional Rights legal director, said this application of the law will save the lives of vulnerable refugees fleeing for their lives and safety.
ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt said, “The court recognized, as it did with the first asylum ban, that the Trump administration was attempting an unlawful end run around asylum protections enacted by Congress.”