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Judge blocks President Trump's asylum ban for migrants who enter country illegally


A federal judge late Monday blocked the Trump administration from denying asylum to migrants who enter the U.S. illegally, according to multiple  reports.

U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar, who was nominated by former President Obama, sided with opponents of President Trump’s policy, saying the president “may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” The Associated Press reported.

He issued a temporary restraining order after hearing arguments in the case, it added.

Trump earlier this month clamped down on asylum claims as part of his broader efforts to crack down on illegal immigration.

The Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security had earlier published a joint rule prohibiting certain people caught crossing the U.S. southern border from Mexico between ports of entry from claiming asylum.

"Our asylum system is overwhelmed with too many meritless asylum claims from aliens who place a tremendous burden on our resources," acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a joint statement at the time.

The rule was opposed by immigration activists and civil rights groups including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Center for Constitutional Rights.

“We don’t condone people entering between ports of entry, but Congress has made the decision that if they do, they still need to be allowed to apply for asylum," ACLU lawyer Lee Gelernt told the AP.

Baher Azmy, a lawyer with the Center for Constitutional Rights, added that the law "couldn't be clearer" in stating that asylum claims are expressly allowed for individuals who enter the country through a manner besides a legal port of entry.

“Individuals are entitled to asylum if they cross between ports of entry,” he said.

The asylum crackdown came as a caravan of Central American migrants moved northward through Mexico toward the U.S. border.

Ahead of this month's midterms, Trump focused his rhetoric on immigration and the caravan itself, but has been largely quiet about the migrants since the elections took place.

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