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Federal Appeals Court Upholds Block on Asylum Transit Ban

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A federal appeals court has upheld a block on the Trump administration’s attempt to make individuals who traveled through a third country on the way to the United States before arriving at the southern border ineligible for asylum, with very limited exceptions.

The lawsuit, East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Barr, was filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, American Civil Liberties Union and Center for Constitutional Rights.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled the transit ban violates U.S. asylum law and is arbitrary and capricious. A stay of the injunction by the Supreme Court is currently in place. Last week, a federal district court in Washington, D.C., ruled against the ban on narrower procedural grounds. That ruling is not covered by the Supreme Court stay.

The following are reactions to today’s ruling:

Melissa Crow, senior supervising attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Immigrant Justice Project, said: “This ruling further confirms the illegality of the myriad schemes the Trump administration has employed to undermine and ultimately destroy our asylum system. While this decision offers hope to many individuals and families who would otherwise have been deemed ineligible for asylum, far too many obstacles remain as this administration’s contempt for asylum seekers appears to know no bounds.”

ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt, who argued the appeal, said: “The court recognized the grave danger facing asylum seekers and blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to make an end-run around asylum protections enacted by Congress.”

Angelo Guisado, staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, said: “Like so many other immigration policies implemented by the Trump administration, the transit ban was a poorly-designed and hastily-delivered regulation whose only purpose was to make the lives of asylum seekers needlessly more difficult. The Ninth Circuit affirmed today that the ban was contrary to law and we applaud our clients for continuing the fight for safe and just immigration protection.”

The case was brought on behalf of the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, Al Otro Lado, Innovation Law Lab, and the Central American Resource Center in Los Angeles.

You can access the ruling and read more about the case here: