(SNews) – A federal judge has blocked Joe Biden’s new rules for people seeking asylum at the U.S.–Mexico border, dealing a major blow to the Democrat president’s open-borders agenda.
The ruling has also been seen as a win for left-wing immigration groups who argue that genuine claims of asylum are being buried in the flood of economic migrants making illegal border crossings.
In Northern California, U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar found the Biden administration’s new rules to be unlawful.
Judge Tigar, an Obama appointee, noted that the mandate imposes conditions that Congress did not intend.
The judge stayed his own ruling for 14 days, allowing the Biden administration to appeal before his order takes effect.
“The Court concludes that the Rule is contrary to law because it presumes ineligible for asylum noncitizens who enter between ports of entry, using a manner of entry that Congress expressly intended should not affect access to asylum,” Tigar wrote in his ruling.
“The Rule is also contrary to law because it presumes ineligible for asylum noncitizens who fail to apply for protection in a transit country, despite Congress’s clear intent that such a factor should only limit access to asylum where the transit country actually presents a safe option.”
In recent months, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implemented a series of measures that attempt to manage the influx of illegal aliens along the U.S.–Mexico border.
It came after the successful Trump-era Title 42 pandemic rule, which was used to expel illegal aliens from the country, expired earlier this year.
But Judge Tigar concluded that the new programs that provide illegal aliens an avenue to apply for “asylum” in the United States are specific to certain nationalities.
He found that the rules aren’t meaningful for all people who seek asylum.
“The Rule, therefore, assumes that these exceptions will, at the very least, present meaningful options to noncitizens subject to the Rule,” he wrote.
“Parole programs are not meaningfully available to many noncitizens subject to the Rule.
“Though other parole programs exist, the Rule generally relies on the parole programs for Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan, Venezuelan, and Ukrainian nationals.
“These programs are country-specific and ‘are not universally available, even to the covered populations.’”
Lawyers for the Department of Justice argued that the administration’s policy is different than the Trump administration’s version.
A lawyer for the DOJ argued last week that the new policy includes legal pathways for people seeking asylum protection.
The Biden administration added that the asylum rule was a key part of its strategy to strike a balance between strict border enforcement and ensuring several avenues for migrants to pursue valid asylum claims.
The rule was a response to political and economic instability fueling an exodus of migrants from countries, including Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Peru, and Venezuela.
The judge wrote the government violated the Administrative Procedures Act, which sets guidelines on how agencies implement rules when it rolled out the latest asylum rule.
“To justify limiting eligibility for asylum based on the expansion of other means of entry or protection is to consider factors Congress did not intend to affect such eligibility,” he wrote.
“The Rule is therefore arbitrary and capricious.”
Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said Judge Tigar’s ruling is a win for immigration advocates.
The ACLU was involved in the legal case against the Biden admin.
Katrina Eiland, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in a statement that genuine “people fleeing persecution” get lost in the system as military-aged economic migrants flood the border.
“The ruling is a victory, but each day the Biden administration prolongs the fight over its illegal ban, many people fleeing persecution and seeking safe harbor for their families are instead left in grave danger,” Eiland said.
“The promise of America is to serve as a beacon of freedom and hope, and the administration can and should do better to fulfill this promise, rather than perpetuate cruel and ineffective policies that betray it,” Eiland added.
In announcing the new rule, the Biden administration emphasized the complex dynamics at play when it comes to immigration.
At one time, illegal border crossers consisted mainly of adults from Mexico seeking to come to the United States and they could easily be returned home.
Now migrants come from across the Western Hemisphere and beyond as they see the porous Southern Border as an easy access point to the United States.