U.S. judge blocks Trump administration´s new asylum rule

27 Juillet, 2019, 00:22 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Central American migrants part of a group of 87 people deported from US gather at the El Chaparral border crossing before being transported to a shelter in Tijuana Mexico

The Trump administration on Wednesday turned back an initial legal challenge to a new rule that bars nearly all immigrants from applying for asylum at the U.S.

Kelly says the immigrant advocacy groups that sued didn't prove that their work would be "irreparably harmed" if the policy went into effect.

Tigar, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, has already barred less restrictive asylum policies from taking effect and could permanently block the new asylum policy.

Speaking with reporters outside the White House on Wednesday, Trump said Kelly's ruling "helps us very much at the border".

The Washington decision will now be suspended pending further proceedings.

The Trump administration has issued a rapid-fire series of anti-immigration edicts recently, as the issue is shaping up to be a focus of the 2020 presidential campaign.

However, the administration officials, who has often railed against "loopholes" in the US asylum system, have strongly defended the rule, casting it as much-needed move for the government to deal with the months-long surge of Central America families heading towards the southern border and to fend off meritless claims from economic migrants.

Attorney Lee Gelernt with the ACLU, one of the groups that brought the case, said in a statement that "the Trump administration was attempting an unlawful end run around asylum protections enacted by Congress".

Tigar said that ruling was not binding on his own decision and any conflicts could be kicked up to a higher court.

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The proposed change would bar people from seeking asylum in the United States if he or she pass through another safe country but do not attempt to seek protection in those countries first.

At the northern border, the USA and Canada have a "safe third country" agreement that limits people who arrive in one country from seeking asylum in the other. While the rule would impact migrants seeking asylum, "The plaintiffs before me here are not asylum seekers", the judge said.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people are waiting in Mexico on official and unofficial lists formed after USA agents started turning away many asylum seekers, citing lack of space and delays in immigration courts. Poor living conditions at some detention facilities have sparked massive outrage, and USA officials say they are trying to reduce the number of people they detain.

Top U.S. officials said the policy would discourage migrants from leaving their countries, which they say is necessary to reduce the numbers of people that U.S. authorities are detaining.

In a separate hearing on a similar lawsuit earlier on Wednesday, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., declined to halt the policy.

If someone has been trafficked, if the country the migrant passed through did not sign one of the major worldwide treaties that govern how refugees are managed (though most Western countries have signed them) or if an asylum-seeker sought protection in a country but was denied, then a migrant could still apply for US asylum.

Late past year, Tigar halted a similar effort by the administration to prohibit migrants who cross the border illegally from being able to seek asylum.

Tigar in November struck down a different asylum ban that attempted to block all migrants crossing illegally from asking for refuge in the United States.

This is part of an overall trend for the Trump administration of pressuring Latin American countries to bear some of the burden from illegal immigration and mass migration, particularly from migrants who are fleeing crime and unrest in Central America.

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