Speed Reads

legal blows

Judge blocks Trump administration's asylum rules for gang and domestic violence victims

A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that Justice Department policies that make it harder for migrants fleeing gang or domestic violence to claim asylum were "arbitrary, capricious, and in violation of the immigration laws."

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions established the standards in June. On Wednesday, Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered the Trump administration to stop deporting immigrants in the United States "without first providing credible fear determinations consistent with the immigration laws," adding that it is "the will of Congress — not the whims of the Executive — that determines the standard for expedited removal."

The lawsuit was filed in August by the ACLU and the University of California's Hastings Center for Gender and Refugee Studies on behalf of 12 plaintiffs, most of them from Central America. Sullivan ordered the government to return the deported plaintiffs back to the U.S. so they can go through the asylum process again. Jennifer Chang Newell, managing attorney of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, called the ruling "a defeat for the Trump administration's all-out assault on the rights of asylum seekers."