I had to read this story a couple of times to make sure I hadn’t inadvertently followed a link to The Onion, but it’s apparently legitimate news. The report deals with the Trump administration’s order to deny some asylum claims from Central American migrants who illegally cross into the United States from Mexico without asking for asylum there first. That order was immediately challenged in court and placed under a temporary injunction by District Court Judge Jon Tigar last month.
Now, however, the government has appealed and won at least a partial (if temporary) victory. And the shocking part of this tale is that they achieved this via a three-person panel of the Ninth Circuit. (Associated Press)
A federal appeals court’s ruling Friday will allow the Trump administration to begin rejecting asylum at some parts of the U.S.-Mexico border for migrants who arrive after passing through a third country.
The ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allows President Donald Trump to enforce the policy in New Mexico and Texas, rejecting asylum seekers who cross from Mexico into either state. Under Friday’s ruling, U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar’s July 24 order stopping the policy would only apply in California and Arizona, which are covered by the 9th Circuit.
The two busiest areas for unauthorized border crossings are in South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley and the region around El Paso, Texas, which includes New Mexico. Nearly 50,000 people in July crossed the U.S. border without permission in those two regions, according to the U.S. Border Patrol.
The two big questions to understand regarding this ruling involve the questions of how and who. As far as how this works, the decision wasn’t a complete reversal of Judge Tigar’s injunction. What the appeals panel actually said was that Tigar hadn’t met the burden of showing why the injunction should be applied nationally rather than only in his own district. So the injunction will remain in place for California and Arizona, both of which fall in Tigar’s district. The judge has been ordered to “further develop the record in support of a preliminary nationwide injunction,” so he could still prevail.
The injunction will not apply in New Mexico and Texas, where some of the busiest illegal crossing areas are found. (At least for now.)
Then comes the question of who the judges are who handed down this ruling. And this is where we may be seeing some of the early effects of President Trump and Cocaine Mitch advancing so many of Trump’s court nominees. This panel was composed of Judge A. Wallace Tashima, a Clinton nominee, Judge Milan Smith, nominated by George W. Bush, and Judge Mark J. Bennett. The latter was a Trump appointee.
And for the benefit of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who recently said we “don’t have any” Obama nominees or Clinton nominees, the Clinton nominee voted in favor of the injunction while the two appointees of GOP presidents voted the other way. Of course, all of these immigration rules are immediately challenged before the ink on Trump’s signature is even dry and most will likely have to go all the way to the Supreme Court sooner or later. (Where the President has fared better than in the lower courts.)