Federal judge reinstitutes nationwide block on Trump asylum restrictions

September 10, 2019

An activist judge in California blocked an attempt by President Donald Trump to cut back on asylum fraud.

San Francisco federal judge Jon Tigar reimposed a nationwide ban on Trump’s “third country” asylum policy, which blocks most migrants from applying for asylum if they pass through a safe country on their way to America. Tigar shot down Trump’s policy in July, but its scope was ultimately narrowed by an appeals court. Now, Tigar is overruling the appeals court and once again instituting a nationwide ban.

Tigar, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, is the same “Obama judge” whom Trump criticized almost a year ago for blocking other asylum restrictions.

Judge issues nationwide ban on Trump asylum restrictions

President Trump sought to curtail abuse of the U.S. asylum system by making the conditions more stringent, but he has been consistently stymied by “activist judges” issuing unilateral, nationwide blocks on his policies. Earlier this summer, Tigar ruled against Trump’s “third country” policy, which would effectively block most migrants currently seeking asylum, with some exceptions.

The policy, introduced in July, imposes restrictions on asylum seekers who pass through another country en route to America, such as Mexico, unless their requests for asylum in another country are denied. A majority of asylum seekers travel from Central American countries like Guatemala and Honduras.

Tigar issued a nationwide injunction in July, but the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last month limited its scope to just the jurisdiction of the circuit: Arizona and California. But the 9th Circuit deferred to Tigar’s federal district court to “further develop the record in support of a preliminary injunction extending beyond the Ninth Circuit,” and Tigar did exactly that.

After far-left open borders groups represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) challenged the Trump rule, Tigar overrode the 9th circuit on Monday, citing the threat of potential harm to asylum seekers outside the jurisdiction of the circuit. Tigar noted that the groups represent clients “within and outside of the 9th circuit” and that they presented “sufficient evidence” that they would suffer harm if the ruling was not applied nationwide. He wrote:

While nationwide injunctions are not the ‘general rule,’ they are appropriate ‘where such breadth [is] necessary to remedy a plaintiff’s harm. This is such a case. Accordingly, and for the reasons set forth above, the Court grants the [immigrant rights] Organizations’ motion to restore the nationwide scope of the injunction.

The ACLU hailed Tigar’s ruling, saying, “The court recognized there is grave danger facing asylum-seekers along the entire stretch of the southern border.”

Trump officials blast ruling

Meanwhile, Trump’s press secretary Stephanie Grisham blasted the decision as a defeat for the rule of law and a “gift to human smugglers”:

Immigration and border security policy cannot be run by any single district court judge who decides to issue a nationwide injunction. This ruling is a gift to human smugglers and traffickers and undermines the rule of law. We previously asked the Supreme Court to set aside the district court’s injunction in its entirety, our request remains pending with the Court, and we look forward to it acting on our request.

The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to strike down the injunction last month, with Solicitor General Noel Francisco calling it “deeply flawed” in a filing. Trump has argued that the current asylum rules are too expansive and allow for exploitation by migrants who are not actually refugees, resulting in backlogged immigration courts and a status quo in which immigrants are detained and shortly released into the nation’s interior, a process called “catch and release.”

Trump’s defenders have long criticized efforts by federal judges to unilaterally craft nationwide immigration policy to keep the broken system intact, thereby enabling illegal immigration and abuse of the asylum process. That status quo hasn’t shifted much since last November, when Trump rebuked Tigar as an “Obama judge” after he imposed a ban on one of Trump’s asylum restrictions.

For now, it looks like the left has scored another win in its efforts to perpetuate America’s broken immigration system and enable further exploitation of the asylum process.

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Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor's degree from Stony Brook University and has contributed to The Daily Caller and The Stony Brook Press.