A federal judge has blocked the Trump administration’s most sweeping set of asylum restrictions, less than two weeks before President-elect Joe Biden takes office. The new rules had been set to take effect on Monday.
The ruling on Friday by US District Judge James Donato in San Francisco has limited immediate impact, because the government has largely suspended asylum at the US-Mexico border during the coronavirus pandemic, citing public health concerns.
Still, letting the rules take effect would have been felt by some who can still claim asylum and make it significantly more difficult for all asylum-seekers once pandemic-related measures are lifted.
President Donald Trump’s administration argued that the measures were an appropriate response to a system rife with abuse and overwhelmed with unworthy claims. But Donato sided with advocacy groups who sued over the restrictions, saying the acting Homeland Security secretary lacks authority.
It was not immediately clear if the Trump administration would make an emergency appeal.