ICYMI | Jack Crane’s POV
UPDATE | It was reported that US District Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled last December that 6 immigrants who were “seeking asylum” at the time that they were deported from the United States be returned to the country to have their claims heard once again. In short, Sullivan ruled against the Trump White House’s revised asylum policies.
The ruling is the latest legal setback for the White House on immigration. Last month, a judge in San Francisco ordered a halt to a policy that prevented those entering illegally from Mexico from seeking asylum.
The policy at the center of Wednesday’s ruling sought to limit the ability of immigrants to fight expedited deportation by narrowing the grounds for claiming “credible fear” if they returned home, the first step in a long asylum process. Thousands of people have traveled in caravans this year toward the southern U.S. border to escape gang violence and poverty in Honduras and El Salvador.
The policy was challenged in a District of Columbia lawsuit brought by a dozen adults and children. U.S. Judge Emmet Sullivan said in a 107-page opinion the policy violated both immigration and administrative law.
Fox News reports that Sullivan’s ruling came the same day he “presided over a contentious sentencing hearing for former national security adviser Michael Flynn.” Sullivan questioned whether or not Flynn “committed treason.” He also accused the former White House official of selling out our country to “foreign interests.”
Sullivan also delayed Flynn’s sentencing until next year, as part of Special Counsel Mueller’s Russia probe.
He took it a step further when he ordered that “the government to return to the United States the plaintiffs who were unlawfully deported and to provide them with new credible fear determinations consistent with the immigration laws.”
On top of bringing back these immigrants, Sullivan also blocked the Trump administration’s policies from being applied anymore.
DOJ spokesman Steven Stafford said in response to the decision, “Under the laws passed by Congress, asylum is only for those who have a legitimate fear of persecution on the basis of their race, nationality, religion, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Attorney General Sessions’ ruling in Matter of A-B- was about following that requirement. We are reviewing our options with regard to this ruling, and we will continue to restore the rule of law in our immigration system.”
Fox News reports of the decision:
It marked another legal blow for Trump’s efforts to harden immigration policies without Congress changing laws. A U.S. judge in San Francisco Wednesday extended his decision blocking the Trump administration from enforcing a ban on asylum for any immigrants who illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border.
Judge Jon Tigar ruled in favor of keeping the ban on hold pending the outcome of a lawsuit challenging it. The case could take months to resolve. He previously had blocked the ban for 30 days.
The ban conflicts with an immigration law that says immigrants can apply for asylum regardless of how they enter the U.S., Tigar said.
The administration has asked the Supreme Court to allow that asylum policy to go forward.
During his time serving as Attorney General, Jeff Sessions revised rules for asylum. The changes made it tougher for those seeking asylum to make “credible fear claims” of gang-related or domestic violence in their homeland.
“The vast majority of the current asylum claims are not valid,” Sessions stated in June.
Fox reports that “Federal officials said they made changes to prevent fraud within the asylum system, though the policy also enabled speedy deportations that were later challenged. A group of asylum seekers, backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, sued the Trump administration in federal court.”
Jennifer Chang Newell, attorney for the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, who was arguing the case, said in her statement on Wednesday, “This ruling is a defeat for the Trump administration’s all-out assault on the rights of asylum seekers. The government’s attempt to obliterate asylum protections is unlawful and inconsistent with our country’s longstanding commitment to provide protection to immigrants fleeing for their lives.”
The ACLU was representing women who had undergone “extensive persecution in the form of sexual and physical violence.”
“Judge Sullivan’s decision ensures that our asylum system remains open to refugees at our border, including those fleeing domestic violence and gang violence,” a statement from Eunice Lee, co-legal director of the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, read. It continued, “These individuals raise legitimate claims under U.S. and international law, and have an unequivocal right to seek asylum. I am thrilled that the court’s order upholds that right.