The Biden administration scored an immigration victory in court last week, when an appeals court allowed one of its rules that restricts asylum at the U.S. southern border with Mexico to remain in place.
The White House was arguing that the rule was a necessary part of its overall effort to try to maintain order at the border, which to this point they’ve been very unsuccessful at doing.
With the rule in place, migrants have a very tough time being granted asylum status without first either seeking protection from a country that they travel through as they make their way to the United States or by applying online.
There are some exceptions to the rule, and it also doesn’t apply to any children who travel to the U.S. border alone.
The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals handed down the decision last Thursday, granting the Biden administration a temporary reprieve from a decision a lower court issued that found that that policy was illegal. The lower court had ordered the federal government to stop using the rule this week.
The Biden administration acted quickly in appealing that decision, though, asking that they be allowed to continue using the rule while court arguments over whether it’s legal or not play out through the court system.
The rule was originally enacted in May. Back then, Title 42 was coming to an end. That policy, passed under the Trump administration, allowed the federal government to quickly expel any migrants from the country without having to let them seek asylum status. It was passed during the height of the pandemic as a way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Officials in the Biden administration had concerns about a potential huge surge of new illegal immigrants trying to cross into the U.S. once Title 42 was rescinded, since they would then have the ability to claim asylum status. So, in response, they enacted this new rule, hoping it would help them control migration into the country.
Even though the rule was considered much more favorable to the illegal migrants, some rights groups still filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration, claiming that it endangered migrants since they were forcing people to stay in Mexico while they waited to get an appointment through the CBP One app that the federal government uses to give migrants a chance to seek asylum.
The arguments put forth by the groups is that migrants can seek asylum no matter how they cross into the country or where they do so, and that the app the government is using to set up the appointments is faulty.
In court briefs, the groups wrote:
“The government has no evidence that the Rule itself is responsible for the decrease in crossings between ports after Title 42 expired.”
Yet, the Biden administration has argued it’s an essential part of the federal government’s approach to encourage people to pursue legal ways to arrive in America. It wrote in court briefs:
“The Rule is of paramount importance to the orderly management of the Nation’s immigration system at the southwest border.”