A U.S. judge on Monday temporarily blocked an order by President Donald Trump that barred asylum for immigrants who enter the country illegally from Mexico, the latest courtroom defeat for Trump on immigration policy.
Trump cited an overwhelmed immigration system for his recent proclamation that officials will only process asylum claims for migrants who present themselves at an official entry point. Civil rights groups sued, arguing that Trump’s Nov. 9 order violated administrative and immigration law.
U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco issued a temporary restraining order against the asylum rules. Tigar’s order takes effect immediately, applies nationwide, and lasts until at least Dec. 19 when the judge scheduled a hearing to consider a more long-lasting injunction.
Representatives for the U.S. Department of Justice could not immediately be reached for comment.
In his ruling, Tigar said Congress clearly mandated that immigrants can apply for asylum regardless of how they entered the country. The judge called the latest rules an “extreme departure” from prior practice.
“Whatever the scope of the President’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” Tigar wrote.
Tigar was nominated to the court by President Barack Obama.
Previous Trump immigration policies, including measures targeting sanctuary cities, have also been blocked by the courts.
The asylum ruling came as thousands of Central Americans, including a large number of children, are traveling in caravans toward the U.S. border to escape violence and poverty at home. Some have already arrived at Tijuana, a Mexican city on the border with California ..