COVID-19 Special Coverage
Federal judge rules migrants at US border before mid-July not subject to asylum limits
WikiImages / Pixabay
Federal judge rules migrants at US border before mid-July not subject to asylum limits

A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of California ruled Tuesday that asylum-seekers at the US border before mid-July would not be subject to the asylum limitations on non-Mexican nationals that had not first sought asylum in Mexico.

The relevant ban mandates:

Additional limitation on eligibility for asylum. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 208.15, any alien who enters, attempts to enter, or arrives in the United States across the southern land border on or after July 16, 2019, after transiting through at least one country outside the alien’s country of citizenship, nationality, or last lawful habitual residence en route to the United States, shall be found ineligible for asylum unless:

(i) The alien demonstrates that he or she applied for protection from persecution or torture in at least one country outside the alien’s country of citizenship, nationality, or last lawful habitual residence through which the alien transited en route to the United States, and the alien received a final judgment denying the alien protection in such country.

A group of these nationals who had requested asylum prior to July 16 were instructed to wait in Mexico in accordance with government metering policies, which limit the number of people being processed through a point of entry at a given time. The individuals followed the instructions provided to them, and the government subsequently argued before the court that the asylum-seekers had never attempted to enter. The court disagreed, ruling in favor of the migrants.

The defendants attempted to challenge the validity of the claims of the asylum-seekers, but the court found these claims to be unfounded. Thus, the court concluded that the migrants would be harmed considerably from the actions of the government, and because they were only delayed on their asylum claims because of the metering policies, they should not be subject to the ban.