Federal Judge Blocks Trump Administration’s Last Minute Asylum Restrictions

According to a report from Bloomberg, President Trump’s last minute attempt to restrict the asylum laws of the United States has been blocked by a federal judge. Known by some immigrant rights groups as the ‘death to asylum’, the new rule was set to go into effect on Monday, January 11th.

Without the federal court order, the Trump Administration’s proposed rule change would have made it very difficult to qualify for asylum protections. Here, our California asylum attorney explains the proposed rule, the legal decision, and what happens next.

Trump Administration Asylum Rules: Dramatically Restrict Eligibility

Officially, the Trump Administration’s new rule is known as the Procedures for Asylum and Withholding of Removal; Credible Fear and Reasonable Fear Review. Published last month, the regulation alters the standard for assessing asylum claims—dramatically narrowing the eligibility standards.

Migrant rights groups have dubbed the policy ‘death to asylum’ because the eligibility standards are so harsh that few people would qualify for protections. As an example, the policy would allow the U.S. government to deny a desperate migrant’s asylum claim solely on the grounds that they spent more than 14 days in any one country while traveling to the United States.

Notably, the proposed Trump Administration policy would make it exceptionally difficult for Central American migrants—who are geographically forced to make a lengthy journey through Mexico—to qualify for asylum protection. Many are criticizing the Administration’s rules change as “xenophobic” and “targeted”.

Federal Judge Issues Injunction Blocking the Policy

On January 8th, 2021, United States District Judge James Donato issued a decision in favor of migrant rights groups and against the Trump Administration. In issuing the decision, Judge Donato ruled that Chad Wolf lacked the legal authority to promulgate such a rules change and that the change would improperly change the asylum system to make it almost impossible for many people to qualify. As a consequence of the decision, the rules change will not go into effect.

Biden Administration Unlikely to Appeal the Preliminary Injunction

The future of the Trump Administration’s latest asylum restrictions will depend on the course of policy selected by the incoming Biden Administration. There is not enough time left in the Trump Presidency to file and oversee the appeal. In effect, this means the Biden Administration must determine what to do next. Most observers expect that President Biden will accept the federal judge’s initial ruling. In other words, the new administration can simply abandon the rule. They are under no obligation to file an appeal.

Call Our Los Angeles Asylum Lawyer for Immediate Help

At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, we help people find solutions to the full spectrum of immigration problems. You deserve personalized, trustworthy guidance and support from your lawyer. If you have any questions about the asylum process, we are here to help. With a law office in Los Angeles, we are proud to provide reliable immigration services throughout all of Southern California, including in Long Beach, Compton, Santa Monica, Anaheim, San Bernardino, and Riverside.

Josh Goldstein
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