Thursday, November 22, 2018

Court Bars Enforcement of Trump's Limitation on Asylum Seekers

In East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Trump, (ND CA, Nov. 19, 2018), a California federal district court issued a temporary restraining order against implementation of a Presidential Proclamation and implementing rule that allow asylum to be granted only to refugees who cross the border at a designated port of entry.  8 USC Sec. 1158(a) provides:
Any alien who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States (whether or not at a designated port of arrival ...), irrespective of such alien’s status, may apply for asylum....
Focusing on this section and on treaty obligations, the court said in part:
The rule barring asylum for immigrants who enter the country outside a port of entry irreconcilably conflicts with the INA and the expressed intent of Congress. Whatever the scope of the President’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden.
A hearing on whether a preliminary injunction should issue in the case was set for Dec. 19.  Washington Post reports on the decision. The decision led to an unusual war of words between President Trump and Chief Justice John Roberts.