Washington D.C., Nov 20, 2018 / 16:22 pm
The Trump administration’s new rules limiting asylum for undocumented immigrants was wrong, says a federal judge who ruled they can still claim asylum even if they do not cross the border at an official point of entry.
U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar said that President Donald Trump’s Nov. 9 proclamation violates immigration law that clearly makes such migrants eligible to seek asylum.
“Whatever the scope of the President’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” said Tigar, who temporarily blocked President Trump’s proclamation from taking effect at least until a Dec. 19 hearing.
Tigar, a President Barack Obama nominee, said the ban on asylum “irreconcilably conflicts” with immigration laws and with the “expressed intent of Congress.” He said the ban would put potential asylum seekers at “increased risk of violence and other harms at the border.”
Trump administration leaders defended the proclamation, claiming it was “lawful and tailored” and aimed at “controlling immigration in the national interest.”
The order cited the same powers in a Trump administration travel ban that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“As the Supreme Court affirmed this summer, Congress has given the President broad authority to limit or even stop the entry of aliens into this country,” Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Katie Waldeman and Department of Justice spokesman Steven Stafford said in a statement.
“Our asylum system is broken, and it is being abused by tens of thousands of meritless claims every year,” they added, characterizing asylum as a “discretionary benefit” given by the executive branch only under certain legal conditions. They said they would continue to defend the executive branch’s “legitimate and well-reasoned exercise of its authority to address the crisis at our southern border.”