Federal judge declines to block administration rule limiting asylum

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In this Tuesday, March 19, 2019 file photo, a van carrying asylum seekers from the border is escorted by security personnel as it arrives at immigration court, in San Diego. A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday, May 7, 2019, that the Trump administration can force asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for immigration court hearings while the policy is challenged in court, handing the president a major victory, even if it proves temporary. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

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WASHINGTON — A federal judge in Washington declined to block the Trump administration’s new asylum rule that dramatically limits the ability of Central American migrants to claim asylum if they enter the US by land through Mexico.

US District Judge Timothy Kelly said Wednesday that plaintiffs didn’t meet the threshold of irreparable harm. The ruling is specific to a temporary restraining order. Proceedings will continue for a preliminary injunction.

The ruling comes a little over a week after the regulation’s implementation.

The rule from the departments of Justice and Homeland Security would prohibit migrants who have resided or “transited en route” in a third country from seeking asylum in the US, therefore barring migrants traveling through Mexico from being able to claim asylum and as a result, drastically limit who’s eligible for asylum.

The plaintiffs in the case, which include Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, and other groups, argued in their motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction that, among other things, the rule ran afoul of the Immigration and Nationality Act. They also called the rule “cruel and unlawful.”

The plaintiffs also argued that the rule harms their organization’s ability to work with asylum seekers.

The asylum rule immediately faced legal challenges last week. The day the rule went into effect, Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition and the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups sued the administration in order to block the new restrictions.

A motion hearing on the rule is also scheduled to take place later today before a federal judge in the Northern District Court of California.

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