Judge blocks sweeping Trump asylum restrictions – Latest News, Breaking News, Top News Headlines – CVBJ

A federal judge blocked the most radical restrictions on asylum imposed by the Donald Trump administration with only a few days to go until President-elect Joe Biden takes over as president of the United States.

The measures were due to take effect on Monday. The court order has limited but immediate effect because the government has largely suspended asylum on the border with Mexico during the coronavirus pandemic on health grounds.

However, the application of the new rules would have affected some people who can still request asylum and would increase the difficulties for all applicants once the restrictions related to the pandemic are lifted.

The Trump administration claimed the measures were an appropriate response to a system plagued by abuse and overwhelmed by meritless requests.

The restrictions were intended to redefine how asylum and similar forms of humanitarian protection can be accessed if you face persecution in your country of origin. The rules would have expanded the reasons why a judge could consider asylum applications “frivolous” and prohibit applicants from ever accessing US protection.

Federal Judge James Donato, in San Francisco, said Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf lacks the authority to enforce those rules, agreeing with the activist groups who filed a lawsuit.

Donato, who was appointed in 2013 by former President Barack Obama, wrote that Wolf’s appointment violated the established order of succession and noted that it was the fifth time a court had ruled against Homeland Security on the same grounds.

“The government has recycled exactly the same judicial and factual claims presented in previous cases, as if they had not been completely rejected in well-reasoned opinions by various courts,” Donato wrote. “This is a worrying litigation strategy. In effect, the government continues to collide the same car against a gate, with the expectation that one day it may pass through it.

Donato said his ruling is nationally applicable because limiting its scope “would turn immigration policy into a fragmented and disjointed patchwork.”

At the moment it is unknown if the Trump administration will present an emergency appeal. The Justice Department did not respond to a request for comment late Friday.

Aaron Frankel, attorney for the plaintiffs, described the restrictions as “nothing less than an attempt to end the asylum system.”

Asylum is a legal protection designed for those fleeing persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, political beliefs, or membership in a social group. Any foreigner who steps on US territory has the legal right to request asylum, according to federal law and the obligations provided in international treaties.

The Trump rule would reduce the categories of persecution and the severity of the threats for which protection is granted. Those who applied for asylum because of their gender or because they were in danger from criminal groups, officials or “non-state organizations” might not be entitled to it.

Immigration judges would have been ordered to be more selective in granting protection and allowed to reject most petitions without a court hearing.

Likewise, the judges have weighed several new factors that would have negatively affected the applicants’ ability to obtain protection, among them not paying taxes. The criminal record would have counted against the plaintiffs even with the expungement of their convictions.

According to the restrictions linked to the pandemic. In force since March, approximately nine out of 10 people detained at the border are immediately expelled for public health reasons. The rest are processed in accordance with immigration laws, which include the right to seek asylum.

Donato disagreed with the manner in which some officials came to the head of the Department of Homeland Security. Wolf became Acting Secretary in November 2019, replacing Kevin McAleenan, who was also serving on a provisional basis. Various courts have ruled that Wolf improperly jumped into office from his position as undersecretary for Strategy, Policy and Plans.

Like other judges, Donato said that McAleenan, who was commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, also was promoted to the direction of the department without respecting the hierarchy, which made the transfer of the position to Wolf “without legal effect”.

Homeland Security has not had a secretary ratified by the Senate since the resignation of Kierstjen Nielsen in April 2019.

Despite the judicial setbacks against him, the Trump administration has implemented several policies that restrict asylum, such as having applicants wait in Mexico while a United States court hears their requests.

Biden is expected to reverse some of Trump’s immigration policies, such as staying in Mexico, although he recently said that his administration would need “possibly the next six months” to rebuild a system that can process asylum applications to prevent a agglomeration of migrants on the southern border.

Also on Friday, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, ruled against the government’s policy of granting state and local governments the right to refuse resettlement of refugees.

The three-judge panel said Trump’s executive order that required both state and local entities to consent before allowing refugees to be relocated to their jurisdictions would undermine the Refugee Act of 1980. That rule, established by the Congress was intended to allow relocation agencies to find the best place for a person to progress while working with state and local authorities.

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