Judge blocks Trump administration’s new asylum restrictions

SAN DIEGO — A judge Friday upheld an earlier ruling that blocks the Trump administration from enforcing new restrictions on who can be granted asylum in the US, the Associated Press reports.

The ruling, by Judge Jon S. Tigar of the US District Court for the Northern District of California, kept in place his original decision to put a temporary hold on the administration’s plan to start disqualifying people who cross the border illegally from being granted asylum.

Friday’s ruling was a rejection of an appeal from the federal government. Tigar said the government had not shown that the President’s policy “is a lawful exercise of Executive Branch authority.”

Ahead of the appeal, government lawyers argued Tigar’s order, “directly undermines the President’s determination that an immediate temporary suspension of entry between ports of entry is necessary to address the ongoing and increasing crisis facing our immigration system.”

When he issued his order on November 19, Tigar said the new policy barring asylum for immigrants who enter outside legal checkpoints “irreconcilably conflicts” with immigration law and the “expressed intent of Congress.”

“Whatever the scope of the President’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” 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 criticized Tigar’s ruling. They 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.

“Our asylum system is broken, and it is being abused by tens of thousands of meritless claims every year. … 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 Waldman and Justice Department spokesman Steven Stafford said in a statement last week.

The temporary restraining order remains in effect nationwide.

We will update this developing story as we learn more.

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