Federal Court Finds Asylum Ban Unlawful

WASHINGTON – Judge Jon Tigar of the California Northern District Court today ruled that the Biden administration’s asylum ban policy is unlawful, but delayed the ruling from taking effect for 14 days.

“The same federal judge who threw out Trump’s asylum ban has now confirmed that Biden’s policy is also unlawful,” said Eleanor Acer, Senior Director for Refugee Protection at Human Rights First. “The administration should use this opportunity to end this ‘temporary’ rule. As our research documented, people waiting to seek asylum have suffered brutal assaults and kidnappings while left waiting in danger in Mexico under the asylum ban. The Biden administration should abandon this illegal and inhumane policy and focus on restoring access to asylum for people facing persecution.”

With limited exceptions, the asylum ban bars nearly all asylum seekers who traveled through another country on their way to the U.S. southern border, unless they (1) applied for asylum in one of those countries and received a denial, or (2) managed to secure one of the highly limited appointments to enter at an official port of entry (via a glitchy, inequitable smartphone app known as CBP One).

Human Rights First has conducted extensive research in Mexican border cities, documenting the impact of the ban on people seeking asylum. Earlier this month, Human Rights First published “Refugee Protection Travesty: Biden Asylum Ban Endangers and Punishes At-Risk Asylum Seekers,” and issued several prior joint reports with other organizations. After it was proposed, the asylum ban sparked strong opposition, including from the UN Refugee Agency, asylum adjudicators, faith-based organizations and leaders, major unions, LGBTQ+ organizations, civil rights and Black-led organizations, and members of the president’s party.

Human Rights First is deeply thankful to the organizational plaintiffs — East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, American Gateways, Central American Resource Center, Immigrant Defenders Law Center, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the Tahirih Justice Center — and litigators — the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Northern California, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, and National Immigrant Justice Center — for their work to block this illegal and harmful policy.


Published on July 25, 2023


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