A US District Court in California foiled President Donald Trump’s plan to use executive orders and presidential proclamations to override immigration legislation, at least temporarily. The President previously claimed he could use his powers to override even the US Constitution despite critics stating otherwise, however the court ruled otherwise.
In early November, Trump signed a proclamation restricting migrants abilities to request asylum. However asylum is defined by existing law and several groups—including 12 Hondurans traveling with the migrant caravan from their home country—took the Trump administration to court over the new rules.
US District Court Judge Jon Tigar sided with the plaintiffs in his ruling. In his decision, Tigar wrote:
“Whatever the scope of the President’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden.”
The judge added:
“Asylum seekers will be put at increased risk of violence and other harms at the border, and many will be deprived of meritorious asylum claims. The government offers nothing in support of the new rule that outweighs the need to avoid these harms.”
NEW: A federal judge in California has temporarily blocked the Trump administration from enforcing new limits on who can apply for asylum — the TRO will be in effect until Dec. 19 https://t.co/nOGTYtVX5n pic.twitter.com/70HQ1bHGIm
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) November 20, 2018
🚨Late last night, a federal court temporarily blocked President Trump’s asylum ban as our challenge moves forward.
This ban is illegal and would put people’s lives in danger. Blocking it is a critical step in fighting the administration’s attacks on asylum seekers.
— ACLU (@ACLU) November 20, 2018
The ruling marks yet another loss for the Trump administration in court, where members of his administration and the President himself have been taken to task for overstepping the authority of the executive branch as defined by the US Constitution.
Trump tried to claim the migrant caravan that began in Honduras, heading for the United States to seek either immigration or asylum, posed a serious national security risk allowing the executive branch to override Congress. But Judge Tigar disagreed with both the Trump administration’s characterization of the caravan and the scope of presidential authority.
The Department of Homeland Security defended the President’s order, calling it “lawful and appropriate” for an asylum system they characterize as “broken” and “being abused by tens of thousands of meritless claims every year.”
It is unclear if the Trump administration will appeal the ruling.
The looming threat of the migrant caravan was a constant topic leading up to the 2018 midterm elections. Trump’s order came before the election as well.
But since the midterms ended, talk of the caravan stopped coming from the White House and Fox News. Critics accused the President, the GOP and Fox News of fearmongering—with outrageous false claims about the caravan—leading up to the midterm elections.
Conservatives did not take the news well.