Courts Immigration

Federal Judge Rules Against Trump Administration’s Strict Asylum Policy

On Tuesday night a federal judge ruled that the strictest asylum policy that the Trump administration created is illegal. This decision comes at the heels of the new Supreme Court decision, made on June 18, to uphold the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program

The “third-country asylum rule,” instituted in 2019, “prohibited immigrants from claiming asylum in the United States if they did not first try to claim it in a country they passed through on their way to the U.S. border,” according to NBC News. It appeared to target Central American migrants who were fleeing gang violence and forced “asylum-seeking migrants from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador” to seek asylum from Mexico first, before asking for asylum from the U.S.

Judge Timothy J. Kelly, U.S. District of Washington, D.C., appointed to the federal bench by President Trump in 2017, ruled in favor of “third-country asylum rule,” argued by asylum-seekers and immigrant rights organizations. The Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security jointly published that this rule violated the Immigration and Nationality Act. 

Judge Kelly stated that the administration had not abided by the Administrative Procedure Act, a federal act that requires Americans to be given enough time and opportunity to weigh in on such changes. Kelly wrote, “there are many circumstances in which courts appropriately defer to the national security judgments of the Executive,” later adding, “but determining the scope of an APA exception is not one of them.” He argued that the Immigration and Nationality Act allows anyone who has made it to U.S. soil to apply for asylum. 

Former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal said on Twitter that “this decision invalidates Trump’s ‘asylum ban’ at the southern border” and that the ruling would take effect immediately. 

Media Sources:  NBC News 07/01/20; DHS 07/01/20; Twitter 07/01/20


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