Judge rules against Biden immigration policy, calling it 'invalid'

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A federal judge in San Francisco dealt a major blow to a signature piece of President Joe Biden’s immigration policy on Tuesday, calling its rule that limits who can apply for asylum at the southern border “both substantively and procedurally invalid.”

Lawyers for the Justice Department immediately responded by issuing a notice to appeal the decision in a higher court, and the case is likely to go all the way to the Supreme Court. The Biden administration is fighting to protect its “asylum ineligibility rule,” which requires asylum-seekers to schedule an appointment for an asylum hearing at a legal port of entry or prove that they had already sought and been denied asylum in another country while en route to the U.S.

Judge Jon Tigar also placed a 14-day stay on his own ruling before it takes effect. The delay may effectively keep the administration’s asylum policy in place until the Supreme Court can weigh in.

The Biden administration rule has been in place since Covid-19 restrictions known as Title 42 ended in May. Title 42 had blocked more than 2 million border crossings during its three years in place. Observers expected a surge in migrants at the border following the end of Title 42, but the level of crossings actually fell, and the Biden administration argues that the asylum ineligibility policy has limited the number of migrants crossing the border since May. It has argued in court that the asylum ineligibility policy is necessary to control migration during a “time of heightened irregular migration throughout the Western Hemisphere.”