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Two Judges, With Two Very Different Opinions And Outcomes, Decide On Trump's Asylum Restrictions

AP Photo/John Raoux

In a rather interesting turn of events, two decisions were made today about President Donald Trump's restrictions on people seeking asylum along the southern border. The proposed change would bar people from seeking asylum in the United States if he or she pass through another safe country but do not attempt to seek protection in those countries first.


The first decision, coming from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, struck down a challenge to the restrictions, something the Trump team celebrated.

"The court properly rejected the attempt of a few special interest groups to block a rule that discourages abuse of our asylum system," press secretary Stephanie Grisham wrote in a statement. "Tens of thousands of migrants making opportunistic asylum claims have not only exacerbated the crisis at our southern border but also have harmed genuine asylum seekers, who are forced to wait years for relief because our system is clogged with meritless claims."

Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition and the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services were seeing an injunction, which U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly denied, The Hill reported. 

"This new rule is contrary to our laws and we will continue to challenge this attempt to remove asylum eligibly from those who are fleeing violence and persecution around the world,” Claudia Cubas, Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition’s litigation director, said in a statement.

The American Civil Liberties Union, Southern Poverty Law Center and the Center for Constitutional Rights also challenged the rule, saying it breaks international law regarding asylum. 

U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar in California agreed with the groups and placed a preliminary injunction against the restrictions. 


“This rule violates the asylum statute,” American Civil Liberties Union attorney Lee Gelernt told Tigar, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. “If you’re escaping, going through another country, you haven’t settled down.”

Judge Tigar questioned Mexico's ability to handle the majority of asylum seekers that are currently flocking to America's southern border, NBC News reported.

Justice Department lawyer Scott Stewart, however, said the Trump administration has made "big process" in their discussions with Mexico. Tigar, however, said those discussions have yet to produce an agreement.

This isn't the first time Tigar delivered a blow to Trump's immigration policies. Last year, he placed an injunction on similar asylum restrictions. Trump wanted to deny asylum claims for applicants who did not come to a legal port of entry.

Now the question becomes: where does the Trump administration go from here? 

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