Federal Judge Overturns Trump’s “Third-Country Asylum Rule”

In 2019, the Trump administration established a rule prohibiting individuals from obtaining asylum if they failed to request asylum in a country they passed through on their way to the United States. For example, Guatemalan asylum-seekers fleeing gang violence would need to try (and fail) to obtain asylum in Mexico before becoming eligible for asylum in the United States.

On June 30th, however, U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly of Washington, D.C. ruled against this policy, denying a plea to stay the ruling pending an appeal. Kelly explained that the policy violated the Immigration and Nationality Act, which allows anyone who arrives at the U.S. to apply for asylum (unless they have disqualifying factors, such as criminal convictions).

Kelly, appointed by the President in 2017, also said the administration did not abide by the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The APA guarantees Americans the time and opportunity to support or dissent new rules (i.e. a notice-and-comment period).

Kelly’s decision comes shortly after the Supreme Court shut down the administration’s attempt to end DACA. Although the Supreme Court’s decision arguably invites Trump to simply try again with proper administrative procedures, it currently allows hundreds of thousands of Dreamers to stay in the United States, safe from deportation.

While Kelly’s ruling is to take effect immediately, asylum-seekers likely won’t see the benefits any time soon. The U.S./Mexico border is essentially closed due to COVID-19-related policies.

Both Kelly’s ruling and the latest DACA decision, however, give hope to immigrants and their allies. Even with an administration that has adamantly opposed immigration in all forms, justice can still prevail.

The Help You Need to Fight for Your Rights

Especially in recent years, the U.S. immigration system has endured relentless change. Navigating this tumultuous legal terrain is a serious undertaking, which is why you need Tesfaye Law by your side. Our attorneys have years of experience helping clients from all around the world accomplish their immigration goals. If you are applying for an immigration benefit or status, let our team handle your case with urgency and care.

Give us a call at (703) 454-8865 or contact us online. We can begin with a free consultation.