A federal judge in Washington, D.C, on Friday blocked the Trump administration’s new rule banning people who enter the country illegally from seeking asylum, saying it violates U.S. law.
U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss is the second federal judge to rule against the rule, which said that only migrants who enter the United States through legal ports of entry may claim asylum.
President Donald Trump announced the new rule in November, saying that migrants who cross into the country illegally would be held until deportation.
A judge in San Francisco struck down the asylum ban weeks after it was implemented. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling and the Supreme Court declined to overrule it.
Moss said the Immigration and Nationality Act allows asylum claims regardless of whether a migrant enters the country legally.
Migrants “have a statutory right to seek asylum regardless of whether they enter the United States at a designated port of entry, and defendants may not extinguish that statutory right by regulation or proclamation,” Moss said.
The rule change is one of a number of attempts by the Trump administration to crack down on the number of asylum claims at the southern border.
In July, the Justice Department said it planned to change asylum rules to limit the number of Central American migrants reaching the U.S. border by officially disqualifying those who travel through Mexico to get there. A federal judge in California blocked that rule, saying only Congress has the power to bar asylum.
And earlier this week, Attorney General William Barr overturned an earlier precedent-setting decision made by the Board of Immigration Appeals which allows migrants to claim asylum based on their familial connections to people under threat in their home countries.
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