California Federal Trump Halts the Trump Administration’s Asylum Ban

Earlier this month, the Trump Administration announced a new policy that would stop many migrants from applying for asylum in the United States. Through executive fiat, President Trump ordered the U.S. government to stop accepting asylum applications unless the applicant arrived at an official port of entry.  

On November 19th, 2018, in the United States District Court of the Northern District of California, Judge Jon S. Tigar stopped the Trump Administration from enforcing this ban. In granting a temporary restraining order, this ruling allows people to continue seeking asylum in the United States regardless of where they enter the country.  This is an important decision — at least temporarily, it restores crucial rights to asylum seekers.

Federal Judge: President Trump Exceeded His Executive Authority Under U.S. Law

Migrants from around the world have a legal right to apply for asylum in the United States under the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA). As Judge Tigar noted the in the first paragraph of his ruling, this federal law explicitly states that migrants have the right to apply for asylum “whether or not at a designated port of arrival.”  

As was argued by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Southern Poverty Law Center in the complaint, the INA contains very explicit language: federal law allows anyone to apply for asylum. Judge Tigar writes in his order that the Trump Administration’s rule barring immigrants from seeking asylum outside of the official ports of entry “irreconcilably conflicts” with the letter of law and the clearly expressed intent of the United States Congress. In other words, the president does not have the power to unilaterally modify this law.

The Trump Administration Will Appeal the Ruling

As this case is litigated, President Trump’s proposed restriction of asylum will be temporarily halted. Whether or not it will restart will depend on the decisions made by other courts. Kirstjen Nielsen — the United States Secretary of Homeland Security — told reporters from the Washington Post that the administration is prepared to appeal the ban. Though, she did also note that federal immigration officers will comply with the decision made by this court. As with several other Trump Administration immigration restrictions, this issue could eventually be headed to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Unfortunately, considerable damage has undoubtedly already been done. President Trump has repeatedly told asylum seekers that they will be treated harshly at the border and that their claims will not be processed. Even though he lacks the legitimate authority to carry out many of his proclamations, a serious sense of confusion now exists at the border. Many asylum seekers have been turned away or otherwise disincentivized from exercising their rights.

Speak to a Asylum Lawyer Today

At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, we have experience across a wide range of immigration matters. Our asylum attorneys are strong advocates for our clients. To find out more about what we can do for you, please contact our Los Angeles law office today.