Trump order blocks intercepted asylum-seekers

The Trump White House issued a proclamation on Nov. 9 that bans migrants caught entering the US unlawfully from seeking asylum. The ban's stated purpose is to funnel immigrants from Mexico and Central America to ports of entry along the border, where they will be allowed to apply for asylum "in an orderly and controlled manner instead of unlawfully." The ban is set to last for 90 days, or until such time as the US strikes a "safe third country" deal with the Mexican government. The opening paragraph of the statement makes reference to the caravan of Central American migrants currently traveling through Mexico. It states that this group "appear[s] to have no lawful basis for admission into our country" and "intend to enter the United States unlawfully or without proper documentation and to seek asylum."

Trump’s statement expresses concerns about potential abuse of the US asylum system by migrants, citing an increase in asylum claims by migrants caught crossing into the US illegally. It states that such practices "overwhelm" the asylum system and make it take longer to process "legitimate" claims.

Omar Jadwat, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrant Rights Project, stated: "The law is clear: People can apply for asylum whether or not they’re at a port of entry, and regardless of their immigration status. The president doesn't get to ignore that law, even if he dislikes it."

The Central American migrant caravan has been adopted as a central issue by the president as well as many Republican candidates seeking office in the 2018 US midterm elections.

From Jurist, Nov. 9. Used with permission.

DoJ to appeal ruling on asylum policy

The US Department of Justice said on Nov. 27 that it plans to appeal a decision by a federal judge in California blocking the Trump administration’s rule denying asylum to migrants illegally crossing the southern border of the US. Northern District of California Judge Jon Tigar on Nov. 19, Tigar temporarily blocked the Trump administration rule until December 18, saying the policy likely violates federal law on asylum eligibility. The Justice Department said in its notice of appeal that Tigar's decision "immediately harms the government and jeopardizes important national interests." (Jurist)

Law against 'encouraging' unlawful immigration struck down

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Dec. 5 struck down a federal law that prohibits "encouraging" or "inducing" unlawful immigration on First Amendment grounds. The case was on appeal on behalf of Evelyn Sineneng-Smith, who was convicted of encouraging unlawful immigration for private financial gain in 2010. Singeneng-Smith operated a consultation business for Filipino health care worker immigrants. (Jurist)