A federal judge has barred the Trump administration from turning away refugees who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, saying all should be allowed to apply for asylum, regardless of how they entered America.
U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar ruled in favor of legal groups that filed lawsuits after President Donald Trump issued an executive order on Nov. 9 that deemed any illegal border crossers ineligible for asylum if they crossed anywhere other than official ports of entry.
“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 Tigar, a nominee of former President Barack Obama.
But the Trump administrations argues the Trump executive order is “consistent with our immigration laws.”
“The President has the broad authority to suspend or restrict the entry of aliens into the United States if he determines it to be in the national interest to do so,” Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a joint statement after Trump took his action.
“Our asylum system is overwhelmed with too many meritless asylum claims from aliens who place a tremendous burden on our resources, preventing us from being able to expeditiously grant asylum to those who truly deserve it. Today, we are using the authority granted to us by Congress to bar aliens who violate a Presidential suspension of entry or other restriction from asylum eligibility.”
Trump said Nov. 9 on the White House lawn: “We want people to come into our country, but they have to come into the country legally.”