Federal Appeals Court Grants Stay in Biden Asylum Ban Case

August 3, 2023 8:30 pm

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Court does not rule on merits and places case on speedy review schedule

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court today said the Biden administration’s new asylum ban, which was ruled illegal by a federal judge on July 25, could remain in effect as the appeal is heard. In the same order, the court put the appeal on a highly expedited schedule.

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.

Their lawsuit, East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Biden, was 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.

Late last month, Judge Jon Tigar of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California ruled the ban was illegal, but granted a stay of 14 days before the ruling could take effect. The government sought an extended stay from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which was granted today.

“The stay ruling doesn’t say anything about the legality of the ban, and we are confident that we will prevail when the court has a full opportunity to consider the claims. We are pleased the court placed the appeal on an expedited schedule so that it can be decided quickly, because each day the Biden administration prolongs its efforts to preserve its illegal ban, people fleeing grave danger are put in harm’s way,” said Katrina Eiland, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, who argued the case. “The Biden administration should uphold our asylum laws, which were designed to give people a fair chance to seek safety, not ban them arbitrarily despite their need for protection.”

“The Biden administration’s asylum ban is illegal and dangerous,” said Anne Peterson, senior staff attorney at the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies. “The government’s own attorneys have admitted that under the ban, people with legitimate asylum claims can be deported to countries where they face deadly persecution. The courts have repeatedly struck down these policies as unlawful. We urge the administration to stop defending the ban, accept the district court’s ruling, and immediately reinstate a fair and lawful asylum process for all people seeking refuge at our nation’s doorstep.”

Richard Caldarone, senior litigation attorney, National Immigrant Justice Center, said, “Every day the asylum ban rule remains in place increases the risk of harm for people who have been forced from their homes and have come to our country seeking safety. It’s unconscionable that the Biden administration continues to defend policies that the federal courts have repeatedly found unlawful and that block people from access to asylum.”

Order: https://www.aclu.org/documents/east-bay-sanctuary-covenant-v-biden-ca9-stay-order



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