A federal judge from California has invalidated a major part of Joe Biden’s border policy. The California Northern District Court’s Judge Jon Tigar had previously ruled that a policy nearly identical to the one implemented by the Trump administration was unconstitutional. The ACLU filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration for its policy which prohibits asylum seekers from entering the U.S. if they have passed through another country before obtaining permission from U.S. officials.
Biden came up with a way to get around this policy. He set up a system that allowed asylum seekers to enter the U.S. through legal channels, such as by showing up at one of the three Central American processing centers or by applying for protection in a different country. The “CBP One” app allows anyone who wants to enter the U.S. to make an appointment and be met at the border.
Judge Tigar, however, ruled that the policy was invalid and allowed the administration to appeal within 14 days.
The ruling was a win, but every day that the Biden administration continues to fight its illegal ban, people who are fleeing persecution or seeking safe haven for their families, find themselves in grave danger,” Katrina Eiland said, the deputy director of ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. She argued this case. The promise of America to be a beacon of freedom and hope is one that the Biden administration should strive to keep, not perpetuate ineffective and cruel policies.
Erez Reuveni, a lawyer with the Justice Department, argued that the rule had exemptions and there were other legal pathways available for migrants who wanted to come to the United States.
Reuveni said that blocking the rule would “potentially undermine” the ability to negotiate with countries that have partnered up with the US in order to manage migration.
Eiland, the attorney for the plaintiffs, argued that the rule placed migrants at risk and that the regulation does not provide additional pathways. She said that “the rule does not offer any carrots.”
The administration has pointed to the dramatic decline in border crossings that occurred since the end Title 42 policy that allowed the rapid expulsion of migrants as proof that its approach includes increased deportations as well as tougher penalties.
US Customs and Border Protection statistics show that US Border Patrol arrested almost 100,000 migrants on the southern border of the US in June. This is a significant decrease compared to May and the lowest border encounters monthly since February 2021.
Asylum seekers are now allowed to enter the U.S. on a legal basis, which has led to fewer arrests.
Tigar emphasized that programs allowing some asylum seekers entry into the U.S. do not affect all those who want to cross the border.
“The Rule assumes, therefore, that these exceptions, at a minimum, will present meaningful options for noncitizens who are subject to the Rule. Many noncitizens are not offered meaningful parole programs. Although there are other parole programs, the Rule relies primarily on those for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, Venezuelans, and Ukrainians. The programs are specific to each country and “are not available to all populations, including those covered by the Rule”, he wrote.
The Justice Department plans to appeal. Judge Tigar does not appear to be eager to let the policy remain in place while he makes his decision.