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Obama-Appointed Judge Blocks Biden’s Rule Limiting Asylum For Migrants

A federal judge blocked the Biden administration’s new asylum rule for migrants Tuesday.

The policy, implemented in May following the expiration of Title 42, denies asylum to migrants who pass through a safe country on the way to the United States and do not seek protection there. The ACLU, along with the National Immigrant Justice Center and the UC Hastings for Gender and Refugee Studies, filed a lawsuit on May 11 shortly after the policy took effect.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Judge Jon S. Tigar, an Obama appointee, found the policy to be “contrary to law” because it violates Congress’ intent.

“The Court concludes that the Rule is contrary to law because it presumes ineligible for asylum noncitizens who enter between ports of entry, using a manner of entry that Congress expressly intended should not affect access to asylum,” Tigar wrote. “The Rule is also contrary to law because it presumes ineligible for asylum noncitizens who fail to apply for protection in a transit country, despite Congress’s clear intent that such a factor should only limit access to asylum where the transit country actually presents a safe option.”

“The Rule operates just as the Trump administration’s prior asylum bans did: Asylum seekers subject to the Rule—all non-Mexicans—are categorically barred unless they satisfy one of the enumerated and limited conditions or exceptions,” the lawsuit filed in May alleges.

Tigar stayed the order for 14 days to give the Biden administration an opportunity to appeal to the Ninth Circuit.

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