A U. S. District Judge in Houston has stalled the enforcement of a new rule by the Trump administration that would block asylum seekers who cross the border illegally. This is yet another setback for the president and his efforts to impose his own restrictions without the approval of Congress. This ruling is in response to several legal groups who sued the president after he issued a proclamation saying asylum seekers who did not use official ports of entry would not be eligible for asylum. According to the administration, this is in response to the caravans of asylum seekers moving north through Mexico.
“Whatever the scope of the President’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” said Judge Jon Tigar, a nominee of former President Barack Obama.
This ruling on November 19 remains in effect for one month unless there is an appeal. The next step in the appeals process is the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has often ruled against the president. The Supreme Court would then hear the case. It took three tries before the Supreme Court upheld the Muslim travel ban, so it is likely that the issue so important to the president is moving towards the highest court.
Both the Justice Department and Homeland Security have also issued statements supporting the asylum restrictions. This move is despite the fact that Homeland Security says there is an estimated 70,000 immigrants entering the country illegally per year, which is lower than it has been in decades.
It is not recommended that asylum seekers come into the country illegally, but those who do seek asylum still have rights. An experienced immigration law attorney can provide guidance to those immigrants as well as those who pass through official checkpoints.