A federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order against the Trump administration’s proposal to prohibit immigrants who enter the country unlawfully, specifically, between ports of entry along the southern border, from seeking asylum. According to Judge Jon S. Tigar of the US District Court for the Northern District of California, the administration’s claims of an imminent migrant crisis, which is the basis for the proposed asylum restrictions, lack a factual foundation.
“To say something is true doesn’t make it true,” Tigar argued.
The decision comes after immigrant rights groups sued the federal government, seeking a court order to block President Trump’s plan to limit asylum eligibility to those who enter the U.S. at official ports of entry. The groups argued that such a policy would leave out numerous asylum seekers attempting to enter the country in between border crossings.
The Justice Department, however, justified the proposal by claiming that a large number of migrants abuse the current system of allowing asylum seekers to stay with family members already in the U.S. while their cases remain in pendency. Many have also allegedly made false claims of persecution in order to remain in the country.
Lee Gelernt, lead attorney in the lawsuit and deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrant Rights Project, argued that the government does not have a justifiable reason for flatly denying people the right to seek asylum, adding that sending them back on their way would put their lives in danger.
“Some people have gone through, were apprehended, and have not been allowed to apply for asylum despite a very strong asylum claim,” he said.
Opposing groups argued that Trump is overstepping his executive power by pushing for an immigration restriction that runs contrary to Congress’ intent to allow migrants to seek asylum whether or not they enter through an official port of entry. They also claimed that the government has no basis for claiming that the proposed restriction will reduce bogus asylum claims or ease negotiations with foreign nations.
Justice Department lawyer Scott Stewart, however, believes that the restriction would send the message to other countries that the United States is serious about reforming its immigration policies and urged them to “work with us to find a more comprehensive solution.”
The plaintiffs pointed out that the restriction isn’t even necessary to achieve those goals given that there have been a million fewer cases of people arrested crossing the border since 2000. On top of that, 2017 saw the fewest number cases of migrants caught attempting to cross the border unlawfully since 1972, as per U.S. Border Patrol Statistics.
The plaintiffs in the case include East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, Al Otro Lado, Innovation Law Lab, and Central America Resource Center in Los Angeles.
If you, or a loved one, need assistance with your asylum application, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the legal team of the Lyttle Law Firm. Call our offices today at (512) 215-5225 to schedule a consultation with immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle.