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20 Nov, 2018 18:25

Federal judge blocking asylum restrictions ‘absurd’ & will be appealed – DOJ

Federal judge blocking asylum restrictions ‘absurd’ & will be appealed – DOJ

The Trump administration is pushing back on the decision by a federal judge in California to block asylum restrictions put in place to deal with caravans of migrants that have arrived on the US-Mexican border.

“It is absurd that a set of advocacy groups can be found to have standing to sue to stop the entire federal government from acting so that illegal aliens can receive a government benefit to which they are not entitled,” the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in a joint statement on Tuesday, hours after a federal judge in San Francisco issued a month-long injunction against the policy, saying it violated federal law.

Responding to lawsuits by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and several immigrant advocacy groups, US District Judge Jon Tigar placed a restraining order on the policy that would have automatically denied asylum to migrants who entered the US illegally.

The president “may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” Tigar wrote, adding that limiting asylum seekers to ports of entry “irreconcilably conflicts” with the existing legislation.

Thousands of migrants set out in “caravans” from Honduras and El Salvador in October, accumulating additional members as they passed through Guatemala and Mexico. The first of the caravans reached Tijuana last week, as migrants hope to cross into California and seek both US asylum and protection of the state’s “sanctuary” laws.

In response to the caravans, President Donald Trump has ordered the deployment of over 5,000 US Army troops along the border and hardened the asylum policies – something the DOJ and DHS argue he has every constitutional right to do.  

“We look forward to continuing to defend the Executive Branch’s legitimate and well-reasoned exercise of its authority to address the crisis at our southern border,” both departments said on Tuesday.

Government lawyers argued that the US Supreme Court has already ruled in favor of Trump’s authority to limit or deny entry to any foreigners, and that the administration had every right to restrict asylum applications.

“Our asylum system is broken, and it is being abused by tens of thousands of meritless claims every year,” said DHS spokeswoman Katie Waldman, adding that asylum was a “discretionary benefit” given by the executive branch only when legal conditions are met.

Tigar’s injunction can be appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and is set to expire on December 19.

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