A federal court has officially blocked the Trump administration’s proposed ban on migrants seeking asylum in the United States. U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco issued a temporary restraining order after hearing arguments from civil rights groups that claimed the ban to be illegal, reported The Guardian.
On November 9, the president issued a statement announcing that any immigrants crossing the border between official points of entry would be ineligible for asylum status. He added that the migrant caravans heading to the U.S. posed a national security risk.
Although Tigar acknowledged national security concerns, he ruled that U.S. legislation determined that any person illegally arriving in the country could still apply for asylum. He added that the president does not have the power to rewrite immigration laws set by 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.”
Trump’s ban, if eventually enforced, would make it incredibly difficult for immigrants to avoid deportation if unable to apply for asylum. The Department of Housing and Security has yet to comment on the judge’s ruling but estimates that 70,000 people apply every year for asylum.
The first several caravans heading to the U.S. from Central America have arrived in Tijuana, Mexico, just across the border from California. U.S. Customs and Border Protection have taken measures to avoid a potential surge of people attempting to cross the border, including blocking off northbound traffic and installing movable wire-topped barriers.
Reports from Monday reveal that since Trump’s order came into effect, 107 people have sought asylum after illegally crossing the border. DHS is asking for asylum seekers to cross at official entry points despite long waiting times of up to several weeks.
ACLU lawyer Lee Gelernt commented that many people are crossing between official points of entry to escape imminent danger present to them if trapped on the Mexican side of the border, writes The Guardian.
“We don’t condone people entering between ports of entry, but Congress has made the decision that if they do, they still need to be allowed to apply for asylum.”
Baher Azmy, a lawyer for the Center for Constitutional Rights, also spoke out about the Trump ban and how the administration is misusing its power to change policy imposed by Congress.
“Individuals are entitled to asylum if they cross between ports of entry. It couldn’t be clearer.”