The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit allowed President Joe Biden’s new asylum policy to remain in place on Thursday, granting the administration’s motion for an emergency stay. The Biden administration filed the motion last week to keep the policy in place while they appeal a federal district court ruling which struck down the policy.
The Biden administration’s new asylum policy was implemented after Title 42, a controversial Trump-era immigration policy, expired in May. The new asylum policy presumes that migrants who do not use legal pathways to enter the US are ineligible for asylum. Human rights organizations widely condemned the policy after US Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced it in May.
The court agreed with the Biden administration that blocking the new asylum policy from going into effect would “impose severe harm on the government and the public and … lead to severe disruption[s] at the southwest border.” As a result, the federal district court’s ruling will be put on pause while the Biden administration pursues its appeal of the ruling, which may take some time.
While the court found in favor of the Biden administration, its ruling was not unanimous. Circuit Judge Lawrence VanDyke stood as the lone dissenter in the 2-1 vote. Like District Judge Jon Tigar, who struck down the policy at the district court level, VanDyke found “that this new rule is indistinguishable from” Trump-era rules that the court previously struck down.
The new asylum policy requires that migrants utilize an app, known as CBP One, to schedule an asylum hearing. If migrants fail to secure an appointment via CBP One, they must prove that the app was inaccessible or that they have a viable asylum claim at a US port of entry. If they are unable to do so, the asylum policy presumes they are ineligible. As a result, migrants face a minimum five-year ban and potential criminal prosecution if they attempt to reenter the US.
Tensions have been building along the US’s southern border, which is at the heart of the new asylum policy at issue in Thursday’s ruling. Just this week Mexican authorities discovered two bodies along the Rio Grande. One of the bodies was recovered from a floating barrier that was recently installed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott in an effort to stem the flow of migrants crossing over from Mexico into the US via Texas. The floating barriers are now the source of a lawsuit between the Biden administration’s Department of Justice and the state of Texas.