By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - A federal judge in California reinstated Monday a nationwide halt to President Donald Trump's attempt to deny asylum claims to a broad swath of migrants seeking to come to the U.S.
The rule, established in July, stipulates that migrants who pass through another country en route to the U.S. must apply for asylum in the country through which they transited. Should they not claim asylum in that country they would be ineligible for asylum in the U.S. with few exceptions.
It would primarily affect migrants coming from Central America where they are fleeing widespread gang violence and destitute economic conditions.
The rule is part of a larger effort to curtail migration -- both legal and illegal -- to the U.S. that Trump has made into his signature issue ahead of the 2020 election.
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of appeals last month narrowed the scope of an injunction put in place by another court that halted the rule's implementation. The court limited the scope of the injunction to just jurisdictions it presides over, which includes nine states including the southwestern border states of California and Arizona.
U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of California Jon Tigar ruled, however, that "the primary reason a nationwide injunction is appropriate is that it is the only means of affording complete relief."
"While many of these clients cross the border in the Ninth Circuit, they 'move between jurisdictions throughout the lifetime of their asylum case,'" he wrote in his 14-page order granting the nationwide injunction.
Under U.S. law asylum claims are allowed to be made at the border or within the U.S. without the types of restrictions the administration is seeking to implement. But the administration has insisted that the restrictions are lawful despite claims to the contrary from immigrants rights groups.
Tigar's ruling was met with swift backlash from Customs and Border Patrol acting chief Mark Morgan who dismissed it as part of a series of "unprecedented judicial activism."
"Every single time this administration comes up with what we believe is a legal rule or policy that we really believe will address this crisis we end up getting enjoined," he told reporters at the White House. "It’s very, very frustrating."