A federal judge in San Francisco on Monday barred the Trump administration from refusing asylum to immigrants who cross the southern border illegally, likely prompting a legal challenge from the White House.
Trump issued a proclamation on Nov. 9 that said anyone who crossed the southern border would be ineligible for asylum.
U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar, who was nominated by President Obama in 2012 to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, issued a temporary restraining order after hearing arguments in San Francisco.
The request was made by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights, which quickly sued after President Trump issued the ban this month in response to the caravans of migrants that have started to arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Baher Azmy, a lawyer for the Center for Constitutional Rights, said, “Individuals are entitled to asylum if they cross between ports of entry. It couldn’t be clearer.”
Migrants who cross illegally are generally arrested and often seek asylum or some other form of protection.
On Monday, the U.S. closed off northbound traffic for several hours at the busiest border crossing with Mexico to install new security barriers, and also closed one of two pedestrian crossings at the San Ysidro crossing in a move apparently aimed at preventing any mass rush of migrants across the border.
U.S. border inspectors are processing only about 100 asylum claims a day at Tijuana’s main crossing to San Diego. Asylum seekers register their names in a tattered notebook managed by migrants themselves that had more than 3,000 names even before the caravan arrived.
US News‘ Gregg Re and the Associated Press contributed to this report