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U.S. Federal Court Blocks Biden Asylum Ban

SAN FRANCISCOA federal court today blocked the Biden administration’s new asylum ban, but delayed its ruling from taking effect for 14 days.

The 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 — are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Northern California, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, and National Immigrant Justice Center.

The parties were in court on July 19 for arguments in their lawsuit, East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Biden, filed in May when the Biden administration implemented the new asylum restrictions that mimic two past policies — the “entry” and “transit” bans — which were struck down by the courts under the Trump administration.

Judge Jon Tigar of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California heard the arguments.

The government previously indicated that it may ask the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for further relief from the ruling.

“The ruling is a victory, but each day the Biden administration prolongs the fight over its illegal ban, many people fleeing persecution and seeking safe harbor for their families are instead left in grave danger,” said Katrina Eiland, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, who argued the case. “The promise of America is to serve as a beacon of freedom and hope, and the administration can and should do better to fulfill this promise, rather than perpetuate cruel and ineffective policies that betray it.”

Melissa Crow, director of litigation at the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, said, “The court got it right. President Biden’s asylum ban violates our laws and makes a mockery of our asylum system. Last week the government conceded that under the ban, people with meritorious legal claims can be barred from asylum and deported to countries where they face grave harm. To them, that is an acceptable price to pay for the illusion of border management. But they are breaking the law, sowing chaos, and putting vulnerable people in harm’s way. We urge the administration to stop defending this illegal policy, and instead take immediate steps to establish a fair and humane process that upholds the rights of all people seeking refuge at our nation’s doorstep.”

Keren Zwick, director of litigation at the National Immigrant Justice Center, said, “The court’s ruling is welcome and expected, since the new policy simply rehashed prior rules that restricted access to asylum based on similar grounds, which courts already rejected. U.S. laws protect the rights of people fleeing persecution to come to this country and pursue asylum, full stop. We encourage the Biden administration to now direct its resources to upholding that right, rather than fighting to continue this unlawful and inhumane asylum ban.”


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