The Government Shutdown Won't Affect Trump Asylum Challenge


A federal judge has ruled against the Justice Department, denying its request to pause all deadlines relating to a D.C. court case that is challenging the Trump administration’s asylum restrictions.

President Donald Trump signed a proclamation in November that barred migrants who entered the country illegally from claiming asylum. However, the court system has not been receptive to the new asylum rule.

A judge on the 9th Circuit Court ruled against the restrictions later that month, and a 5-4 Supreme Court decision in December also rejected the Trump administration’s bid to enforce it.

The losing streak continued in a ruling by U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss.

Attorneys with Justice Department on Wednesday asked the court to put all case deadlines on hold as the government continues to be under a shutdown. However, Judge Moss on Thursday denied the request, writing that filings must remain in place because the challengers to the asylum restrictions view the case as related to human safety.

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Moss noted in his order that there are plenty of employees still working in the immigration courts and within the Department of Homeland Security, despite the shutdown.

“The Court further notes that, according to government reports, 48% of employees from the Executive Office for Immigration Review are excepted ‘to process all immigration cases and appeals involving detained aliens,’ … and approximately 91% of Customs and Border Protection employees and 81% of Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees will be retained during a lapse in appropriations,” Moss wrote, quoting the administration’s shutdown staffing plans.

The lawsuit is brought on from six individuals who were barred from claiming asylum because they entered the country illegally.

The issue of immigration is also behind the government shutdown, with Trump and congressional Democrats at odds over funding for a border wall. The president has made clear he is willing to ride a shutdown for as long as it takes until he receives a budget that allots enough funding for construction of a wall on the country’s southern border.

The next briefs will be due to the court by Jan. 4, 2019.

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