Federal judge reinstates nationwide injunction against Trump’s asylum rule

Asylum seekers in Tijuana
The scene in Tijuana in July as hundreds of asylum seekers wait to be called to go to the U.S. border to meet with U.S. immigration officials.
(Nelvin C. Cepeda/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

A federal judge reinstated a nationwide injunction Monday against a Trump administration rule that would deny asylum to most immigrants at the southern border.

U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar, citing the need for a uniform immigration policy, issued a 14-page decision explaining why the injunction should not be limited to the western states within the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Trump’s new rule makes migrants ineligible for asylum if they passed through another country en route to the U.S. and failed to apply for protection in that country. Most asylum seekers come from Central America.


Tigar first issued a nationwide injunction against the rule in July, but a three-judge 9th Circuit panel decided 2-1 to narrow it to the states within the circuit. The appeals court said Tigar had failed to justify the need for a nationwide order.

As a result, border officials in California and Arizona were not allowed to apply the new rule against asylum seekers, but agents in Texas and New Mexico could.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Southern Poverty Law Center returned to Tigar’s courtroom last week and asked him to document the need for a nationwide order.

The 9th Circuit has said it would hold a hearing on the case in December.