Justice Department appeals court order blocking asylum restrictions

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WASHINGTON — The Trump administration appealed a ruling in California blocking its new asylum restrictions to a federal appeals court Monday.

Last week, a federal judge in California late blocked the Trump administration’s new asylum rule dramatically limiting the ability of Central American migrants to claim asylum if they enter the US by land through Mexico.

The administration also filed an emergency motion in the Northern District Court of California to allow the asylum restrictions to go into effect while the appeal to the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals plays out. The Justice Department asked Judge Jon Tigar to decide whether he would stay his order blocking the rule by Friday.

The move puts yet another of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies before the 9th Circuit, which has ruled against some of the President’s policies.

The ruling from Tigar, a Barack Obama nominee, came the same day that a federal judge in Washington, DC, an appointee of President Donald Trump, had declined to block the rule. Tigar’s decision, which affects the entire country, took precedence.

“This Court’s injunction directly undermines the Executive’s constitutional and statutory authority to enact new regulations to address the ongoing border crisis and conflicts with a ruling from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that denied a temporary restraining order of the same rule based on a similar record of alleged harms to the Plaintiffs,” the administration says in its latest court filing.

The rule, which was implemented earlier this month from the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, would prohibit migrants who have resided or “transited en route” in a third country from seeking asylum in the US, therefore barring migrants traveling through Mexico from being able to claim asylum, and, as a result, would drastically limit who’s eligible for asylum.

“This new rule is likely invalid because it is inconsistent with the existing asylum laws,” Tigar wrote in his ruling. “An injunction,” he wrote, “would vindicate the public’s interest — which our existing immigration laws clearly articulate — in ensuring that we do not deliver aliens into the hands of their persecutors.”

The asylum rule immediately faced legal challenges. The day it went into effect, Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups sued the administration to block the new restrictions.

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