A federal appeals court rejected two Trump administration’s efforts to curtail asylum. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit sided with immigrant legal services groups against a Trump administration rule barring asylum claims from people who cross the U.S.-Mexico border without presenting themselves at an official port of entry, Politico reports. Judge Richard Paez wrote that the asylum rule, whose scope he called “staggering,” violates the Immigration and Nationality Act. Paez also said rule conflicts with a 1951 United Nations treaty governing the treatment of refugees by allowing the rerouting of immigrants to countries “where their lives are threatened.”
In a separate ruling, the appeals court backed a lower court’s preliminary injunction against the administration’s Migrant Protection Protocol requiring asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico while their cases are adjudicated. Judge William Fletcher said the policy imperils immigrants in violation of legal protections by exposing them to “targeted discrimination, physical violence, sexual assault, overwhelmed and corrupt law enforcement, lack of food and shelter, and practical obstacles to participation in court proceedings in the United States.” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said the rulings prevent the administration “from faithfully executing the immigration laws passed by Congress and from protecting American citizens and legal immigrants.” The Justice Department asked the 9th Circuit to put its ruling on the Migrant Protection Protocols on hold while the administration asks the Supreme Court to take up the issue. Officials warned that the decision risks causing a surge towards the border of as many as 25,000 migrants returned to Mexico in recent months.