Immigration experts say successfully achieving asylum in the U.S. is incredibly difficult, especially for those coming here from Central America.

WASHINGTON – On Monday, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California ruled to reinstate a nationwide injunction on a Trump administration policy that would have blocked most asylum applications for migrants transiting through other countries on their way to the U.S.-Mexico border. 

“The question now before the court is whether those harms can be addressed by any relief short of a nationwide injunction. The answer is that they cannot,” wrote District Judge Jon Tigar in his order in East Bay v. Barr granting a nationwide injunction on the policy. 

Tigar noted the need for “uniform immigration policy” and potential administration issues if the injunction were only limited to a part of the country, as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled in August. 

The joint Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice policy, which had been published in mid-July, would have banned most Central American migrants from applying for asylum in the United States if they did not apply for asylum first in Mexico or another third country.

Several immigrant service groups filed a lawsuit against the federal government shortly after and were granted a preliminary injunction on the rule by Judge Tigar. 

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Baher Azmy, an ACLU attorney who had argued the case, said in a statement, “The court recognized there is grave danger facing asylum-seekers along the entire stretch of the southern border.”

“Every single time this administration comes up with what we believe is a legal rule or policy that ends up getting legally enjoined, it’s very frustrating,” said acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan at a White House briefing later Monday. “We keep having to go outside the box to come up with new policy, new regulations because this Congress won’t do their job.”

The Trump administration has attempted to clamp down on asylum applications as part of a broader crackdown on immigration, though the administration’s policy changes have been met with fierce legal challenges by immigrant advocacy groups. 

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