When Ed covered the details of the new asylum rules yesterday, he predicted that they would likely be challenged in court. Well, as the saying goes, that didn’t take long. Several groups from the usual list of liberal suspects were in court on Friday, claiming that limiting approvals of asylum requests based on the applicants’ violations of U.S. immigration laws was beyond the power of the White House. But is it really? The Washington Post certainly seems sympathetic to the idea.
Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union and other immigrant advocacy groups filed suit Friday in the Northern District of California to block the Trump administration’s plan to deny asylum protections to migrants who cross the Mexico border illegally.
The suit accuses the administration of attempting to violate the Immigration and Nationality Act and the Administrative Procedure Act, alleging that Trump administration officials have improperly rushed to implement the new restrictions while also asserting executive powers that lie beyond the scope of what the Supreme Court upheld in its “travel ban” decision this year.
The suit came hours after Trump issued a decree Friday morning that set in motion his administration’s effort to close off asylum benefits for those who enter the United States illegally. The measures are to take effect Saturday.
This policy not only makes sense in legal terms but is really long overdue. When someone comes to America from Honduras, Guatemala or other countries in that region with a claim of fleeing violence or persecution and seeks legal asylum, they are asking for a favor, not demanding some inherent right they are entitled to. They could have sought refuge in Mexico, just as hundreds of members of the current Honduran caravan have already done. And if you’re asking to take refuge in our country, that carries with it an implicit agreement that you are coming here peacefully with an intention to obey our laws. Starting the conversation by violating immigration law and immigrating illegally isn’t a very good way to win favorable consideration.
As to the ACLU’s claims about this being an overreach of executive branch power, Ed already covered quite a bit of that territory. The group is claiming that this is somehow different from the “travel ban” which the Supreme Court ultimately upheld. In that ruling Chief Justice John Roberts said that the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 “exudes deference to the President in every clause.” How the ACLU believes they can prove that asylum requests from illegal immigrants crossing the southern border are any different remains a mystery.
So that should be the end of it, right? Not at all. As predictably as the sunrise, the ACLU has taken their case to court in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. This means that any appeal to a decision there will be heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. That’s the same court which has found a way to go against Donald Trump on every decision from the travel ban to whether or not he could have an extra slice of toast at breakfast. So odds are that this new rule will have to be decided by the Supremes yet again. At this point, you might choose to breathe a sigh of relief that Brett Kavanaugh made it over the finish line.