Clinton-appointed judge blocks Trump policy which bans asylum for child abusers, drunk drivers

FPI / November 26, 2020

By Judicial Watch

The government is exceeding its authority for trying to ban illegal immigrant child abusers, drunk drivers, and a series of other violent criminals from getting asylum in the United States, according to open borders groups challenging a Trump administration rule scheduled to take effect this month.

A Clinton-appointed federal judge agrees with the leftist nonprofits and has blocked implementation of the policy issued jointly by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice to ban foreigners with serious criminal histories from being rewarded with asylum and all the taxpayer-funded perks that come with it. This includes disqualifying those convicted of domestic violence, child abuse, assault, battery, identity theft, public benefits fraud, immigrant smuggling and driving under the influence.

A consortium of open borders groups sued the administration in early November to ban the rule, claiming among other things, that the government exceeded its authority in its attempts to keep criminals out. The lengthy complaint alleges a multitude of problems with the new measure, including of course, that it is racist.

“The Rule violates the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment because it was motivated by discriminatory animus toward certain racial and ethnic groups and people of certain national origins,” according to the lawsuit filed in a San Francisco federal court. In a statement announcing the lawsuit, the immigrant rights group heading the legal challenge claims that the U.S. has obligations under international law to make asylum broadly available and to make any exceptions narrow and reserved only for the most serious offenses. “The rules build on the systemic racism of U.S. immigration and asylum policies that have become increasingly harsh and narrow over the past several decades,” according to the San Francisco-based nonprofit dedicated to deportation defense. “These laws rely increasingly on fear-mongering and criminalization of immigrants.”

In a document asking the court to deny the ban requested by the open borders coalition the government writes that the DHS and DOJ rule “ensures that asylum is not granted to criminal aliens who endanger our country.”

The court brief also cites the president’s authority to keep criminals out of the U.S. “Awarding the discretionary benefit of asylum to dangerous criminals encourages lawless behavior, subjects the United States to danger, and undermines the asylum system,” government attorneys write in the filing. “Despite the Executive Branch’s broad authority and sound aims, Plaintiffs—organizations that are not even regulated by the Rule—ask this Court to bar the Rule’s application to anyone, so that the Executive Branch could not apply it to child abusers, alien smugglers, wife beaters, stalkers, serial drunk drivers, various fraudsters, or persons who commit gang violence. This Court should deny that extraordinary request.” The government court filing also reminds that Congress has empowered the Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security to decide who may be admitted to this country as a refugee.

The federal judge, Susan Illston, who presided over the case disagreed, granting the open borders coalition a victory a few days ago. Illston concurs with the leftist nonprofits’ claims that the government exceeded its authority and writes in her decision that the rule is “substantively and procedurally defective.”

Appointed to the federal bench in 1995 by Bill Clinton, the judge also says that the new policy is unnecessary because laws already exist prohibiting asylum for those who have committed certain crimes. “Congress has already written a long list of crimes that render one, if convicted, ineligible for asylum—drug trafficking, sex trafficking, money laundering, counterfeiting, and many more,” Judge Illston writes. “The Rule adds new crimes to that list, with the stated goals of promoting the efficiency of asylum proceedings, discouraging lawless behavior, and protecting the community from danger. These goals, of course, are not problematic in and of themselves, and in any event, it is not this Court’s role to pass judgment on the wisdom of the policies that executive agencies may craft in the administration of their duties. The problem is that the Rule sweeps too broadly. In doing so, it both contradicts Congress’s intent and exceeds the authority Congress gave to the executive agencies.”

One of the groups challenging the policy asserts in a celebratory statement that the defeated regulation is part of the Trump administration’s attempt to “dismantle asylum protections as part of its anti-immigrant agenda.”

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