Central American Ban
Judge Jon S. Tigar, Northern District of California. (S. Todd Rogers / The Recorder)

Central American Asylum Ban Blocked by Federal Judge

In another attempt to stop only the immigrants that he doesn’t like from entering the country, the president and his minions in the administration instated a new policy on July 16 blocking Central Americans and other migrants from requesting asylum at the southern border unless they had applied for asylum in countries they had passed through on the way to the border. But the Central American ban, as it is coming to be called, has been temporarily stalled by a federal judge in San Francisco.

“The public undoubtedly has a pressing interest in fairly and promptly addressing both the harms to asylum applicants and the administrative burdens imposed by the influx of persons seeking asylum,” U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar, an Obama administration appointee in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, wrote in his 45-page ruling. “But shortcutting the law, or weakening the boundary between Congress and the Executive, are not the solutions to these problems.”

Tiger invoked a preliminary injunction blocking the policy and ordered the government to restore the existing system.

This isn’t the judge’s first rodeo. He  halted another version of the Trump administration’s asylum ban last year, said a “mountain” of evidence showed that migrants could not safely seek asylum in Mexico and that the policy violated federal law in part by categorically denying asylum to almost anyone crossing the border. U.S. law generally allows anyone who sets foot on U.S. soil to apply for asylum.

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But on the other side of the country, a Trump-appointed judge did not stop the policy. U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly ruled that the policy could continue. Let the games begin as the two cases head to federal appellate courts.

A Justice Department spokesperson told The Washington Post that Tigar was wrong to rule the way that he did because of the agencies’ supposed “expert policy judgment”.

Tigar wrote that the Trump administration could not show that forcing asylum seekers to apply in Mexico is a “feasible alternative” and that government lawyers did not provide a “scintilla” of evidence to suggest that Guatemala could absorb them, either.

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