CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 1 December 2018

Print Version    Email to Friend
Judge stymies Trump’s asylum ban

WASHINGTON (Agencies): Even as the caravan of refugees and migrants encountered a rough reception in Tijuana, Mexico, and continued on to the reinforced border of the United States of America (US), district judge, Jon Tigar, of the Northern District of California, placed the clamps—at least temporarily—on the Trump administration’s new rules limiting asylum for undocumented immigrants, the Catholic News Agency reported.
 
The judge said that the president’s November 9 proclamation violated immigration law that clearly makes such migrants eligible to seek asylum.
 
“Whatever the scope of the president’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” Tigar said, in issuing a temporary injunction keeping Trump’s proclamation from taking effect at least until a December 19 hearing, according to the Catholic News Agency.
 
Trump administration officials defended the proclamation, claiming it was “lawful and tailored” and aimed at “controlling immigration in the national interest.”
 
Insisting that the asylum system was broken, spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security, Katie Waldeman, and spokesperson for the Department of Justice, Steven Stafford, argued in a statement that, “Congress has given the president broad authority to limit or even stop the entry of aliens into this country.”
 
Judge Tigar, however, pointed out in his ruling that the ban on asylum “irreconcilably conflicts” with immigration laws and with the “expressed intent of Congress.” He said the ban would put potential asylum seekers at “increased risk of violence and other harms at the border.”
 
The Trump administration’s proclamation drew fire from Bishop Joe Vasquez of Austin, Texas, chairperson the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, as well as other Catholic leaders. 
 
The Catholic News Agency reported them as as sayin in a November 14 joint statement, “While our teaching acknowledges the right of each nation to regulate its borders, we find this action deeply concerning. It will restrict and slow access to protection for hundreds of children and families fleeing violence in Central America, potentially leaving them in unsafe conditions in Mexico or in indefinite detention situations at the US-Mexico border.”
 
“We reiterate that it is not a crime to seek asylum and this right to seek refuge is codified in our laws and in our values,” they said.
 
Most of Trump’s immigration actions have come through regulatory change and presidential orders, rather than through new legislation passed by Congress. 
 
In Mexico, CNS reported Father Andres Ramirez, director of Caritas Mexico in Tijuana, as observing that the difficult reception encountered by the caravan of migrants was not the rule in Tijuana as the border city has a history of welcoming migrants and incorporating them into the community. “Tijuana is a city of migrants,” he said.
 
Father Ramirez attributed the hostility to Tijuana being the final stop prior for migrants prior to heading for the US border to seek asylum, CNS reported. Some may have decided to stay in Tijuana, where factory work is abundant.
 
However, he noted, “There are soldiers out there (at the border). That’s not normal.”

More from this section