In a major blow to President Donald Trump’s efforts to secure the nation’s borders, a federal judge issued a nationwide injunction Friday against new rules intended to limit eligibility for migrants seeking asylum, the Washington Examiner reported.
The chief reason cited by District Judge James Donato of San Francisco in his ruling rejecting the new asylum restrictions is that they were put into place by Chad Wolf, the then-acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) whose ascension in that role had long been a point of contention.
New rules rejected
According to the Associated Press, Donato, who was appointed in 2013 by former President Barack Obama, declared that Wolf had been given the role of acting secretary in violation of the normal order of succession for the department.
The judge also noted that his court was the fifth one to have ruled against a proposed DHS regulation on these same grounds.
“The government has recycled exactly the same legal and factual claims made in the prior cases, as if they had not been soundly rejected in well-reasoned opinions by several courts,” the judge wrote, according to the Washington Examiner.
“This is a troubling litigation strategy,” he added. “In effect, the government keeps crashing the same car into a gate, hoping that someday it might break through.”
Judge Donato also explained that he had opted to issue a nationwide injunction against the rule because a more limited and localized injunction “would result in a fragmented and disjointed patchwork of immigration policy,” the AP reported.
Seeking asylum in a pandemic
According to CBS News, the proposed changes were dubbed “death to asylum” rules by immigration advocates.
In reality, they simply would have narrowed the acceptable threats that asylum-seekers could claim to be facing upon entry into the United States, and would have instructed immigration judges to be more selective about who they awarded asylum to.
But it’s all largely moot right now amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to the majority of asylum-seekers being rejected on public health grounds.
According to the AP, the Justice Department declined to offer any comment on the matter, as did the DHS, which was reportedly in turmoil by the weekend after Trump abruptly withdrew Wolf’s nomination to head the department following his criticism of the president over the Wednesday riot on Capitol Hill.
With that and other questions still unanswered, it remains unclear at this time if the Trump administration will appeal the Friday ruling, according to reports.