Biden’s Asylum Strategy Under Fire: Judge Blocks New Rules

A federal judge has halted the implementation of the White House’s new asylum rules for individuals seeking refuge at the U.S.–Mexico border, marking a victory for left-wing immigration groups.

U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar, appointed by President Obama and presided in Northern California, deemed the rules unlawful due to their imposition of conditions that Congress did not intend. However, he granted a 14-day stay on his ruling, allowing the Biden administration to appeal before the order takes effect.

In his written statement, Judge Tigar stated that the rule violated the law by presuming noncitizens who enter between ports of entry or fail to apply for protection in a transit country as ineligible for asylum. He highlighted Congress’s clear intent that such factors should not automatically limit access to asylum.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has put in place a number of measures to handle the growing number of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and curb illegal immigration. These measures followed the expiration of the Trump-era Title 42 pandemic rule, which allowed the expulsion of people from the country earlier in the year.

Judge Tigar’s ruling found fault with the new programs for providing asylum opportunities based on specific nationalities, making them ineffective for all asylum seekers. The parole programs on which the rule relied were limited to nationals of certain countries and were not universally available to all affected populations.

Lawyers from the Department of Justice argued that the Biden administration’s policy differed from the Trump administration’s version and included legal pathways for those seeking asylum protection. The Biden administration stated that the asylum rule aimed to strike a balance between strict border enforcement and providing legitimate avenues for migrants to pursue valid asylum claims, considering the political and economic instability driving migration from countries like Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Peru, and Venezuela.

Judge Tigar contended that the government’s implementation of the latest asylum rule violated the Administrative Procedures Act, as it considered factors that Congress did not intend to affect asylum eligibility. He deemed the rule “arbitrary and capricious” as a result.

This isn’t the first time Judge Tigar has blocked a similar policy, as he did during the Trump administration. Left-wing immigration groups had urged him to do the same with the latest federal rule.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) hailed Judge Tigar’s ruling as a victory for immigration advocates but also criticized the Biden administration for prolonging the fight over the “illegal ban,” leaving vulnerable individuals in danger. The ACLU emphasized the importance of fulfilling America’s promise as a beacon of freedom and hope for those fleeing persecution.

The Biden administration had acknowledged the complexity of immigration dynamics, which now include migrants from across the Western Hemisphere and beyond, unlike in the past when it mainly consisted of Mexican adults who could be easily returned home.

In addition to Judge Tigar’s ruling, the Department of Justice filed a separate lawsuit against Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s administration over an inflatable barrier placed in the Rio Grande River to curb illegal immigration. The legal battle between Governor Abbott and the federal government is ongoing.