Federal District Judge Emmet Sullivan struck down the Trump administration's efforts to bring the 'credible fear' standard more in line with federal asylum law. Earlier this year, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions ruled that asylum seekers could not enter a 'credible fear' claim on the basis of domestic abuse or gang violence when seeking asylum in the United States. Federal law states that asylum seekers must prove that they fear persecution from their government on the basis of race, nationality, religion, ethnicity, or membership in a social group.

Judge Sullivan's ruling could have a dramatic impact on the number of migrants and illegal aliens who are allowed to enter into the asylum process. The Obama administration weakened the 'credible fear' standard in 2009 and ordered that all asylum seekers be paroled into the United States. The move has caused the ongoing surge of Central American migrants heading to the United States, resulting in a 700% increase in the number of asylum claims between 2009 and 2016. Despite the increase in claims, the overwhelming majority of Central Americans claiming asylum in the United States ultimately have their claims rejected by an immigration judge.

The ruling by Sullivan prevents the Trump administration from expeditiously removing any asylum seeker who fails to meet the 'credible fear' standard on the basis of domestic abuse or gang violence. In the ruling, Sullivan blocked the administration "from continuing to apply those policies and from removing plaintiffs who are currently in the United States without first providing credible fear determinations consistent with the immigration laws," and ordered the feds "to return to the United States the plaintiffs who were unlawfully deported and to provide them with new credible fear determinations consistent with the immigration laws."

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Updated: Thu, Jan 3rd 2019 @ 11:05am EST