A California federal judge's attempt to issue a nationwide injunction on the Trump administration's new asylum restrictions was blocked for a second time late Tuesday night. It's the latest move in a case that has bounced around between the lower courts and comes as the Supreme Court considers an emergency request from the Justice Department asking the Court to weigh in.
The Ninth Circuit granted the administration’s request for a stay late Tuesday night, just one day after San Francisco-based U.S. District Court Judge Jon Tigar issued for the second time a nationwide injunction blocking the administration from implementing its new asylum policy. The court’s ruling narrows the scope of the injunction so that the administration is only blocked from implementing its safe-third-country policy within the court’s jurisdiction, which includes California and Arizona.
Under the new asylum policy, which was announced in July, migrants who travel through a safe third country such as Mexico on their way to the U.S. will be denied asylum if they haven’t previously applied for refugee status in the country that country. The policy is now in effect in New Mexico and Texas, since those states fall outside of the Ninth Circuit’s jurisdiction. Soon after the policy was announced, Tigar, an Obama appointee, issued a nationwide injunction blocking its implementation but was rebuffed by the Ninth Circuit, which narrowed the scope of the injunction. Citing new evidence about the policy’s alleged harm to migrants, Tigar reissued the nationwide injunction Monday, only to be overruled once again.
On Monday, Tigar had restored his decision to block a Trump administration rule limiting asylum for some migrants, in response to an earlier 9th Circuit ruling. But that was short-lived, in light of Tuesday'st 9th Circuit ruling. Tuesday's 9th Circuit ruling handed the administration a partial win as it seeks to implement its rule across the country, but has yet to actually rule on the merits of the new rule. The White House also criticized Tigar for seeking to unilaterally control federal immigration policy from the bench.
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.
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Updated: Wed, Sep 25th 2019 @ 2:05pm EDT