Federal Appeals Court Upholds Block on Asylum Transit Ban

July 6, 2020 1:15 pm

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SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court has upheld a block on the Trump administration’s attempt to deny asylum to anyone at the southern border who transited through a third country en route to the United States, with very limited exceptions.

The lawsuit, East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Barr, was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Southern Poverty Law Center, and Center for Constitutional Rights.

In the first appellate decision addressing the ban, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled the transit ban violates the laws of Congress and is arbitrary. A stay of the injunction by the Supreme Court is currently in place Last week, a federal district court in Washington, D.C., ruled against the ban on narrower procedural grounds. That ruling is not covered by the Supreme Court stay.

The following is reaction to today’s ruling:

ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt, who argued the appeal, said: “The court recognized the grave danger facing asylum seekers and blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to make an end-run around asylum protections enacted by Congress.”

Angelo Guisado, staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, said: “Like so many other immigration policies implemented by the Trump administration, the transit ban was a poorly designed and hastily delivered regulation whose only purpose was to make the lives of asylum seekers needlessly more difficult. The Ninth Circuit affirmed today that the ban was contrary to law and we applaud our clients for continuing the fight for safe and just immigration protection.”

Melissa Crow, senior supervising attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Immigrant Justice Project, said: “This ruling further confirms the illegality of the myriad schemes the Trump administration has employed to undermine and ultimately destroy our asylum system. While this decision offers hope to many individuals and families who would otherwise have been deemed ineligible for asylum, far too many obstacles remain, as this administration’s war on asylum seekers appears to know no bounds.”

Baher Azmy, Center for Constitutional Rights legal director, said:

The case was brought on behalf of the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, Al Otro Lado, Innovation Law Lab, and the Central American Resource Center in Los Angeles.

Ruling: https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/order-east-bay-v-barr

Statement: https://www.aclu.org/press-releases/federal-appeals-court-upholds-block-asylum-transit-ban

Case details: https://www.aclu.org/cases/east-bay-v-barr

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