On Friday, a federal judge dismissed President Donald Trump’s asylum policy which was set to take effect in a few days. The judge’s ruling is yet another legal blow dealt to the present administration amidst its ongoing battle to challenge the results of the November 3 election.
Over the last four years, the Trump administration has made a number of policy changes that to a large extent hinder asylum seekers from being accepted into the United States. The judge’s ruling on Friday will block one of the president’s policies against asylum seekers. The policy, which the federal court blocked, was finalized a few weeks ago, months after it was first initiated. If the court had not blocked it, the new policy would have taken effect on January 11.
District of Columbia District Court Judge James Donato, a Barack Obama appointee, said that acting Homeland Security chief, Chad Wolf did not have the authority to fill the position or make any policy. Donato’s submission about Wolf’s role as acting Homeland Chief had previously been reiterated by four other federal courts, a fact that the judge pointed out on Friday.
“This court is the fifth federal court that has been asked to examine Wolf’s authority or a lack of one, in changing the United States immigration policies,” Donato stated.
Donato explained that the administration’s refusal to accept that Wolf lacked the authority to change the rules can be compared to trying to break open a gate by carelessly ramming a car into it. The policy and others like it will be a part of the difficulties that the administration of President-elect Joe Biden will have to overcome to fulfill its promise to undo some of Trump’s restrictions against immigrants, CNN reports.
The rule will give officials the authority to thoroughly scrutinize and possibly reject asylum seekers who travel through at least one other country without seeking help there before coming to the United States. The administration utilized a similar policy for Latin American migrants who pass through Mexico before arriving in the United States. The new policy, however, covers even more countries and regions, excepting only special cases such as victims of human trafficking.
The policy also stipulates that asylum seekers who illegally stay in the United States for over 1 year before applying for asylum might not be accepted readily despite rules that currently exempt such people. Asylum suits can also be rejected if the person seeking asylum fails to pay taxes or has a criminal record.