Federal judge in California issues order further blocking asylum ban

A federal district court judge in California issued an order Wednesday to further block the Trump administration from enforcing its asylum ban.

Judge Jon Tigar, an Obama appointee on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, issued a preliminary injunction against the administration's new policies, which make anyone who crosses the southern border illegally ineligible for asylum.

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Tigar initially blocked the policies with a temporary restraining order last month, but that ruling expires on Wednesday. 

In his order Wednesday night, Tigar said the inconsistency between the new regulation and immigration laws had been stated more clearly in arguments for and against a preliminary injunction.

“The harms to those seeking asylum are also even clearer, and correspondingly the public interest more plainly supports injunctive relief,” he wrote.

"Not surprisingly then, the result of the present motion is the same: the Court again concludes that Plaintiffs have established an overwhelming likelihood that the new rule barring asylum is invalid."

Tigar ordered a conference in the case to be held on March 18.

The Trump administration appealed Tigar’s first ruling and asked the Ninth Circuit to put the temporary restraining order on hold, but the California-based appeals court refused. The government then asked the Supreme Court to issue an emergency order allowing it to enforce its new policy. That request is still pending before the high court.

Lee Gelernt, an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attorney who argued the case on behalf of four organizations that help refugees, hailed Tigar's ruling on Wednesday. 

“The court has once again made clear that the Trump administration cannot do an end-run around the decision by Congress to provide protection to vulnerable individuals regardless of where they seek asylum,” he said in a statement. “This ruling will save lives.”

DOJ did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

— Updated 8:05 p.m.