Judge Tells Stephen Miller To F*ck Off, Again
A federal judge has blocked the Trump administration's latest attempt to eliminate asylum for people fleeing Central American countries, hours after a different judge -- a Trump appointee -- said the rule could remain in place. US District Judge Jon S. Tigar ruled that the administration had attempted a "shortcut" around existing asylum law by trying to force asylum seekers to apply for asylum in other countries before they can request asylum in the USA. That's some bullshit, Tigar wrote in his injunction, holding that the new rule was likely to be struck down on further review and putting it on hold for now. Fine, Tigar used law-talking words, not "that's some bullshit," but we know what he meant. He meant "Fuck you, Stephen Miller."
This is the second time Tigar has blocked a Trump attempt to end asylum; last fall, he stopped an attempt to deny asylum to applicants who crossed the border illegally, noting that US asylum law is pretty specific that asylum can be requested "whether or not" someone crossed at an official port of entry. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit later upheld the ruling, pissing off Trump mightily.
In Wednesday's decision, Tigar was quite clear: Deciding who can and can't apply for asylum is up to Congress, with some very narrow exceptions -- and those exceptions are also up to Congress.
Under our laws, the right to determine whether a particular group of applicants is categorically barred from eligibility for asylum is conferred on Congress. Congress has empowered the Attorney General to establish additional limitations and conditions by regulation, but only if such regulations are consistent with the existing immigration laws passed by Congress. This new Rule is likely invalid because it is inconsistent with the existing asylum laws.
The injunction notes that, yes, asylum-seekers can be shunted off to a "safe third country," but that can only happen when such countries have an explicit agreement with the USA -- and the only such agreement currently is with Canada. The Justice Department and Homeland Security can't just make an "arbitrary and capricious" determination that other countries are safe enough, sorry. In particular, Tigar explains, Mexico is just plain not safe:
[The] government's own administrative record contains no evidence that the Mexican asylum regime provides a full and fair procedure for determining asylum claims. Rather, it affirmatively demonstrates that asylum claimants removed to Mexico are likely to be (1) exposed to violence and abuse from third parties and government officials; (2) denied their rights under Mexican and international law, and (3) wrongly returned to countries from which they fled persecution.
During the hearing on the rule, Tigar also said the government hadn't provided "a scintilla" of evidence that Guatemala -- one of the nations people are fleeing! -- would be able to provide safe refuge for asylum-seekers, either.
The administration's decision to make the rule effective immediately probably violated federal rule-making law, too, Tigar said, but we won't go into the details here. Except to say that, as usual, the government didn't provide justification to bypass the usual 60-day public comment period and other steps. Doesn't Tigar, a radical liberal Obama appointee recognize that "laws" and "procedures" are for little people? The conservative approach it to throw such niceties overboard, especially with an election coming up.
Despite the "mountain of evidence" that other countries can't provide adequate refuge to Central Americans fleeing violence in their home countries, Tigar wrote, "the agencies went the other [way] -- with no explanation" [emphasis in original]. Tigar said the rule flouts a basic requirement of administrative rulemaking, "that an agency must give adequate reasons for its decisions," especially when there's strong evidence against such a rule.
Earlier on Wednesday, a Trump appointee, DC District Judge Timothy Kelly, rejected another lawsuit asking for an injunction, which got rave reviews from President Barstool, who
immediately hailed the D.C. decision as a victory, telling reporters outside the White House that the decision "helps us very much at the border."
"So the asylum is a very big ruling. That was a tremendous ruling today," Trump said. "We appreciate it. We respect the courts very much."
But now the courts are terrible and need to be eliminated, or at least filled with goodsmart Federalist Society replacements, because courts are just the worst.
Yr Wonkette is supported entirely by reader donations! Please send us money to keep the servers humming, the writers paid, and Dok, Jamie, and Liz up to their asses in PDFs of court decisions! Two of 'em are even real lawyers!
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.