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A California federal judge ruled Tuesday that the Biden administration’s Asylum Ban Rule is unlawful

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 25, 2023

Contact: Alicia Vargas; avargas@immdef.org


LOS ANGELES, CA – A California federal judge ruled Tuesday that the Biden administration’s Asylum Ban Rule is unlawful because it makes noncitizens who enter the United States between ports of entry or who fail to seek protection in a third country ineligible for asylum.

The lawsuit—East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Biden—argued that migrants cannot meaningfully seek asylum in transit countries because many countries do not have a functioning asylum system or have systems that are stretched to their breaking point, and most are not safe for asylum seekers to find refuge. The case also cited numerous issues with requiring people to use the flawed CBP One mobile app to secure an appointment to seek asylum, including technical glitches, language and literacy barriers, and an insufficient number of available appointments. These multiple, compounding barriers stranded many asylum seekers for prolonged periods of time in dangerous and life-threatening conditions in Mexico.


“We applaud today’s ruling finding that the Asylum Ban is unlawful. Besides violating both international and domestic law, the Asylum Ban flouts our moral obligation to protect those who are fleeing persecution. Instead of trying to keep people out, it’s time for the Biden Administration to focus on creating and expanding lawful pathways that welcome those seeking a better life for themselves and their families. It’s time to restore dignity and humanity to our asylum system,” said Lindsay Toczylowski, Executive Director of Immigrant Defenders Law Center.


“The Court got it exactly right, vacating the Asylum Ban rule because it is contrary to law and was promulgated in an arbitrary and capricious manner. The Court rightly recognized that it is unlawful for the federal government to add conditions to asylum eligibility that are inconsistent with our nation’s asylum laws,” said Alvaro M. Huerta, Director of Litigation and Advocacy. “The Biden Administration unlawful attempts to restrict asylum eligibility are sending vulnerable migrants back to danger. The Administration should take this opportunity to course correct, and fast.”


The anti-asylum policies the United States has increasingly relied on are aimed at deterring people in search of safety from coming to the United States, through the threat of punishment, expulsion, and deportation. These policies have failed those fleeing persecution and do not prevent people from making the journey to the United States, as the government contends. For people fleeing for their lives, nothing is scarier than staying put.


The judge delayed the ruling from taking effect for 14 days, agreeing to a request by the Biden administration to give it time to appeal.


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Immigrant Defenders Law Center (ImmDef) is a next-generation social justice law firm that defends our immigrant communities against injustices in the legal system. We envision a future where no immigrant will be forced to face immigration court alone. Our programs are a first step towards the long-term goal of providing universal representation to all immigrants facing deportation. ImmDef is now the largest non‐profit, pro bono provider of deportation defense in California with offices in Los Angeles, Adelanto, Riverside, Santa Ana, and San Diego.

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