A federal judge in California restored his decision to block a Trump administration rule that dramatically limits the ability of Central American migrants to claim asylum after the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals narrowed the injunction last month.
The rule, from the departments of Justice and Homeland Security, would prohibit migrants who have resided in or traveled through third countries from seeking asylum in the US, therefore barring migrants traveling through Mexico from being able to claim asylum.
In his order Monday, US District Judge Jon Tigar said, “The primary reason a nationwide injunction is appropriate is that it is the only means of affording complete relief” – issuing yet another setback for the Trump administration after its brief victory in the 9th Circuit last month.
In July, Tigar halted the Trump administration’s rule. Nearly a month later, the 9th Circuit dialed back the injunction, saying it can apply only to migrants claiming asylum in California and Arizona, states that fall under the 9th Circuit’s jurisdiction.
But Monday’s order expands the injunction again, blocking it across the country instead of only in the states that fall under the 9th Circuit’s jurisdiction.
Last week, Tigar defended his initial nationwide injunction in a hearing. Over the course of an hour, Tigar walked through what he believed the 9th Circuit’s ruling to mean, saying there appeared to be some ambiguity.
“I take (it) to say, ‘Judge Tigar, you seem to assume in a situation like this a nationwide injunction is appropriate. You shouldn’t make that assumption. Please explain yourself,’” the judge said.
Immigrant advocacy groups have claimed the rule is unlawful and leaves migrants in harm’s way.
“The court recognized there is grave danger facing asylum-seekers along the entire stretch of the southern border,” ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt said.
The Trump administration has already asked the Supreme Court to put Tigar’s previous injunction on hold in its entirety.
Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, called the ruling “unfortunate” in a tweet.
“This is … ahem … unfortunate. And if you read the opinion you will notice an extraordinary concern for the organizations - who are not the people affected (except that it’s their bu$ine$$ to work the issue)… Can’t say much with live litigation,” he tweeted.
This story has been updated.