Law & the Courts

Federal Judge Halts Trump Administration Policy of Denying Asylum to Those Who Cross Border Illegally

A migrant from Honduras, part of a caravan of thousands from Central America, jumps a border fence in Tijuana, Mexico, December 12, 2018. (Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

A Washington, D.C. federal judge on Friday ruled against the Trump administration’s policy of denying asylum to migrants who fail to enter the U.S. through a legal port of entry.

The policy is “inconsistent with” the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, Judge Randolph Moss wrote.

A federal judge in San Francisco, Jon Tigar, halted the policy for one month a few weeks after it was implemented in November, saying it “irreconcilably conflicts with” the 1965 law, which states that immigrants already within U.S. borders may apply for asylum regardless of how they came to be here.

“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.

That case is currently being heard by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court has blocked the policy from going into effect in the meantime.

Trump announced the measure earlier in November in a proclamation, telling reporters, “We want people to come into our country, but they have to come into the country legally.”

The Trump administration has argued that many of the migrants applying for asylum after entering the U.S. illegally were never eligible to receive it.

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