The Trump administration just keeps facing substantive blocks to their efforts to enact their harshly anti-immigrant agenda. This week, Judge Emmet Sullivan threw out the “unlawful” policy they’d enacted tightening rules on seeking asylum in the United States. Besides his permanent ban on the implementation of the policy, he also — strikingly enough — demanded the government return anyone to the United States that they’d deported because of it.
Under the now fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the administration had sought to erase domestic and gang violence from the considerations that could push an asylum seeker’s request through to approval. Judge Sullivan ruled, however, that the move was flatly inconsistent with existing immigration laws.
The American Civil Liberties Union’s Jennifer Chang Newell was among those to praise the ruling, commenting:
‘This ruling is a defeat for the Trump administration’s all-out assault on the rights of asylum seekers. The government’s attempt to obliterate asylum protections is unlawful and inconsistent with our country’s longstanding commitment to provide protection to immigrants fleeing for their lives.’
She’d been involved with the case in court after her organization brought a challenge to the Justice Department’s “expedited removal” policy.
The case is hardly the first time the Trump administration has been forced to change their immigration policy’s course thanks to the law coming back to bite them. For instance, a judge recently delivered a temporary injunction against their effort to forcibly “rewrite” asylum law to exclude those who cross the border outside designated ports of entry.
That move, like the one Sullivan shot down this week, figured into their broader aim to undercut migrants making their way to the United States in “caravans” traveling through Central America. Trump decried the caravans as full of crime, disease, and so on, despite the repeated lack of evidence to support his claims.
One of his lackeys even threw out a claim on national television that the migrants were bringing smallpox to the U.S. — despite the World Health Organization declaring the disease eradicated decades ago.
Still, they’ve pressed on with their anti-immigrant agenda — and run into roadblocks elsewhere too. President Donald Trump had been seeking a full $5 billion from Congress for his long sought border wall before the fact that Congress didn’t want to get on board with the vanity project forced the White House to back down. Trump had previously asserted he was happy to refuse to approve any government funding if he didn’t get the wall funding, making that a dramatic shift.
Ironically enough, the challenges Judge Sullivan has posed to the Trump administration don’t end here. He was also the presiding judge at former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn’s sentencing hearing this week, which ended with a delay of the sentencing. Still, in the meantime Sullivan went so far as to suggest the belligerent Flynn could have been charged with treason — although he eventually walked back his use of the T-word.
Still, these issues highlight how shaky the ground is that the Trump administration has put itself on.
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