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Court rules Trump’s asylum restrictions can take effect in Texas, New Mexico

A federal appeals court handed the Trump administration a partial win Friday by allowing its asylum restrictions to take effect in Texas and New Mexico.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, known for drawing the ire of President Donald Trump, dialed back a nationwide injunction that a district court had previously issued against the asylum rule.

The 9th Circuit now says the injunction can only apply to migrants claiming asylum in California and Arizona, states that fall under the Ninth Circuit’s jurisdiction. Practically, for now, that means that asylum seekers may continue to seek protection without these restrictions in California and Arizona, but asylum seekers in Texas and New Mexico will be subject to the asylum rule.

The rule, which was issued from the departments of Justice and Homeland Security in July, would prohibit migrants who have resided in or traveled through a third country from seeking asylum in the U.S., therefore barring migrants traveling through Mexico from being able to claim asylum and as a result, drastically limit who’s eligible for asylum.

In July, federal district judge in California blocked the rule from going into effect nationwide. Friday’s ruling means that the restrictions are still blocked in Arizona and California.

The appellate court ruled that “the district court clearly erred by failing to consider whether nationwide relief is necessary.”

The ACLU plans to “immediately” bring new evidence to the district court on why the nationwide injunction should be reinstated, according to ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt.

“The court properly refused to let the new asylum ban go into effect, though currently limited to the Ninth Circuit. We will continue fighting to end the ban entirely,” said Gelernt.

In scaling back on a district court’s nationwide injunction, the appellate court said that “other litigants” wishing to challenge the rule could do so in other courts, a move that will allow the issue to percolate in the lower courts before it might arrive at the Supreme Court.

The U.S. Justice Department declined to comment on the ruling.

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