The Trump administration won a minor legal victory on Aug. 16 when a federal appeals court ruled that a previously issued nationwide injunction should only apply to California and Arizona. The injunction was granted in July by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to prevent the implementation of a controversial immigration policy that would require immigrants hoping to be granted asylum in the United States to make their petitions in the first safe country they entered.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals made its decision after determining that the lower court had not established why such a sweeping injunction was needed. The evidence submitted by immigration advocacy groups supporting the injunction failed to convince the court that nationwide action was warranted. However, the panel of appeals judges did not lift the injunction completely because they were unconvinced that the government’s argument was strong enough to prevail. The administration asked the court for a stay pending the outcome of the appeal.
Advocacy groups including the American Civil Liberties Union will be able to gather evidence that the judges could find more convincing as the appeal continues. Opponents of what is being referred to as the first safe country policy say that the administration is using executive action to sidestep Congress and undermine decades of federal immigration law.
Immigrants hoping to be granted asylum in America face long odds. Most asylum petitions are denied by immigration judges because the petitioners are unable to establish a genuine and credible fear of persecution based on race, religion, political opinions or national origin. Attorneys with experience in this area might help asylum seekers to gather the kind of evidence that may sway a judge. They may also explain some of the other options available to those who wish to begin new lives in the United States.