NEW YORK: A federal judge in California on Monday dealt a setback to a new Trump administration rule that sought to block almost all asylum applications at the border, ruling that an injunction against the rule should apply nationwide.

The rule, unveiled on July 15, requires most immigrants who want asylum in the United States to first seek asylum in a third country they had travelled through on their way to the United States.

It forms part of US President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration policy, a centrepiece of his 2016 election campaign and a major issue as he seeks re-election in November 2020.

San Francisco-based US District Judge Jon Tigar had previously issued a nationwide injunction blocking the rule, but the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals narrowed it to only border states within its jurisdiction — California and Arizona — and sent the question back to Tigar.

On Monday, Tigar ruled it should apply across the entire border, pending a trial on the underlying legality of the Trump administration rule.

One of the Republican president’s main objectives has been to reduce the number of asylum claims, primarily by Central American migrants who have crossed the US-Mexico border in large numbers during his presidency.

Published in Dawn, September 10th, 2019