Court ruling allows Trump asylum restrictions in Texas and New Mexico

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday ruled partially in favor of the Trump administration in its attempt to impose an asylum ban, appearing to approve the ban for those who cross into Texas and New Mexico. 

The court said in a ruling that it denied the government’s broader request to reverse a previous decision blocking the policy, but upheld the injunction for states on the border inside of its jurisdiction.

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The 9th Circuit runs along the West Coast and includes the border states of California and Arizona, so the ruling appears to clear the way for the policy to be applied in New Mexico and Texas, the areas that see the most border crossings from Mexico and Central America.

About 46,500 people crossed the U.S. border in South Texas’s Rio Grande Valley and the region around El Paso, Texas, in July alone, PBS reported.

"Although we strongly disagree with the Ninth Circuit’s decision to leave in place the district court’s unjustified injunction of the Government’s lawful action to curb asylum abuse, we are glad the Ninth Circuit recognized that the nationwide application of the injunction was improper," the White House said in a statement.

"While the injunction remains overbroad – even as modified by the Ninth Circuit’s decision – we will now be able to apply the rule at issue to curb asylum abuse outside of the Ninth Circuit," it added. "We look forward to having the injunction lifted in its entirety on appeal so that we can protect legitimate asylum seekers, preserve resources for addressing their claims, and prevent illegal migrants who bypass regional asylum opportunities from overwhelming our asylum system."

The Trump administration policy denies asylum to migrants who pass through another country on the way to the U.S. without first filing for protections there. Most of the migrants waiting to enter the U.S., legally or illegally, on the southern border have not applied for asylum before reaching the U.S., according to PBS.

The appeals court ruled that a lower court judge, Jon Tigar, did not consider whether a nationwide ban was necessary when he ruled last month that the policy could expose migrants to abuse if they are forced to apply for asylum before reaching the U.S.

“The district court clearly erred by failing to consider whether nationwide relief is necessary to remedy Plaintiffs’ alleged harms,” the ruling said. “And, based on the limited record before us, we do not believe a nationwide injunction is justified.”

But the panel of judges also ruled in a related order that the asylum ban may violate federal regulatory law because it was not issued with an adequate period for public comment.

American Civil Liberties Union attorney Lee Gelernt applauded the decision to keep the ban blocked in the 9th Circuit, but said the organization would “continue fighting to end the ban entirely," Politico reported.

Updated: 7:08 p.m.