TRO Stops New Asylum Rule

Last week, the United States District Court Northern District of California GRANTED a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) that prevents the Trump Administration from implementing and enforcing a rule that purports to create new categories that would bar individuals from being eligible for asylum.

Last month, the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security jointly issued a final rule: Procedures for Asylum and Bars to Asylum Eligibility, 85 Fed. Reg. 67202 (Oct. 21, 2020)expanding a list of crimes that disqualify asylum applicants.

Congress has already written a long list of crimes that render one, if convicted, ineligible for asylum—drug trafficking, sex trafficking, money laundering, counterfeiting, and many more. The Final Rule adds new crimes to that list.

The federal court ruled in the TRO that the Final Rule sweeps too broadly. In doing so, it both contradicts Congress’s intent and exceeds the authority Congress gave to the executive agencies. It does so without sufficient explanation from the agencies for their reasoning and without adequate notice and opportunity for the public to comment.

The Court GRANTED plaintiffs’ motion for a TRO enjoining defendants from implementing and enforcing the Rule.