Appeals Court Blocks Trump Rule on Asylum Claims From Central America

A federal appeals court blocked a rule from the Trump administration that would have denied asylum to people who got to the U.S. by traveling through a third country. The rule is in line with other nations that require asylum applicants seeking asylum because they fear for their lives in their home country to apply for asylum in the first nation they travel to that offers a safe haven. That would invalidate asylum claims from most Central American migrants who pass through Mexico on their way to the U.S.


But that’s not good enough, says a federal judge.


The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals found that the rule “does virtually nothing to ensure that a third country is a safe option” and is a strain on organization resources.

“The appeals court ruled on much broader grounds than the DC District Court which found a procedural violation. The appeals court stated that the rule was flat out unlawful because if [sic] flouted the federal statutes Congress enacted to protect asylum seekers and because it was arbitrary,” said Lee Gelernt, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union.

I would like to see the court define a “safe option” besides the United States. Mexico has a high murder rate, but it’s safer than Guatemala or Honduras. Should the standard be the safest option that an asylum seeker can get to or someplace safer than where he started?

The judge who wrote the decision is a Trump appointee.

Judge Timothy Kelly, a Trump appointee at the US District Court for the District of Columbia, had similarly sided with the plaintiffs last Tuesday, saying that they will expend more resources and face more difficulties in representing clients for which the rule applies.

Kelly also noted that new coronavirus restrictions on the border largely bar migrants from entering the US, so the court action will not lead to “disruptive consequences.”

“Indeed, that recent pandemic-related administrative action appears to have effectively closed the southern border indefinitely to aliens seeking asylum only underscores that vacatur of the Rule will not result in prohibitively disruptive consequences,” Kelly wrote.


Kelly is right in that there will not be a flood of asylum seekers at the border. But the future is less certain. A Biden presidency would throw open the borders and radically liberalize asylum rules. And it’s doubtful a Biden administration would work very hard to keep illegal aliens from flooding the country.

This isn’t “fear-mongering” or “race-baiting” or any other false charge made by the open borders crowd. There is such a thing as common sense in immigration policy. Trump, to his credit, tried to inject some of that into the process of deciding who can come and who can stay.

As a practical matter, ask the border patrol if they can handle another tidal wave of migrants seeking entry into the U.S. — legally or illegally. The answer is a resounding no and there will be thousands of people who suffer needlessly because the left wants to signal how virtuous and compassionate they are.



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