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Appeals court narrows injunction blocking Trump asylum restrictions

A federal appeals court ruled Friday that an injunction barring the Trump administration from enacting new sweeping asylum restrictions for migrants only applies to a portion of the southern border and not the entire country.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said in a ruling that it denied the government’s broader request to reverse a previous decision blocking the policy, but granted it for parts of the southern border outside of the court’s jurisdiction.

The decision means the injunction would apply only to California and Arizona along the U.S.-Mexico border, allowing the Trump administration to begin to impose the asylum restrictions in other states.

The court said the government has not made a strong enough case that they were likely to succeed on the merits of their argument, but the lower court that issued the injunction did not establish the need for a nationwide injunction.

The appeals court said that the lower court “failed to discuss whether a nationwide injunction is necessary to remedy the Plaintiff’s alleged harm” and that “based on the limited record before us, we do not believe a nationwide injunction is justified.”

While the appeal proceeds, the district court can “further develop the record in support of a preliminary injunction extending beyond the Ninth Court,” the court said.

The policy, announced by the Trump administration last month, would broadly end asylum eligibility for migrants who pass through another country on their journey to the United States’ southern border with Mexico, but do not attempt to seek protection in those other countries first.

Several advocacy organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, challenged the rule in court. In the past, federal judges have blocked other attempts by the administration to change the asylum policy.

“The court properly refused to let the new asylum ban go into effect, though currently limited to the Ninth Circuit. We will continue fighting to end the ban fully and permanently,” said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the Immigrants’ Rights Project at the ACLU.

The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to request for comment.

U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar in California issued the preliminary injunction blocking the restrictions at the end of July and the Trump administration had appealed that decision to the Ninth Circuit Court, seeking a stay pending appeal of the case.


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