Many of the over 8,000 people waiting at the Tijuana-San Ysidro border may now be given asylum according to a ruling on Tuesday.
In July the Trump Administration put an asylum ban into effect, denying people seeking asylum who had traveled through another country if they hadn’t registered in any of the countries they had gone through to get to the border.
On Tuesday U.S. District Judge Cynthia Bashant ruled in favor of those seeking asylum that the ban does not apply to anyone who appeared at a U.S. border crossing before the Trump Administration announcement in July.
“The asylum seekers understood their access to asylum in the United States to be premised on their willingness to wait in Mexico,” said Judge Bashant in her ruling. “In reliance on this representation by the U.S. Government, they did so. The Government, in a shift that can be considered, at best, misleading, and at worst, duplicitous, now seeks to change course.”
The ruling will affect over 20,000 migrants mostly from Central American countries waiting at border stations across from California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. At the Tijuana border station alone, nearly 9,000 migrants requesting asylum are affected.
Those in support of those wanting asylum in the United States noted that the U.S. government itself had recommended that asylum seekers apply and wait to get in legally rather than illegally go across the border. The U.S. government argued in favor of the administration. Many in support of the administration have argued since July that those people who had not applied in other countries had through by illegal means, such as hiring a border crossing guide known as a ‘coyote’.
Tuesday’s decision at the Edward J. Schwartz U.S. Courthouse in San Diego did not resolve surrounding issues of asylum seekers, such as issues with illegal ways some migrants choose to reach the border by, and the U.S. not having adequate facilities to process migrants coming up, creating a backlog of nearly half a year.
“This only allows a certain group of immigrants who got here before July 16th to not have that restriction against them,” noted San Diego Immigration lawyer Javier Diaz. “This isn’t opening the borders or anything like that. Only some will not need to go back to other countries to claim asylum in first. And this is still a huge roadblock. But a few who got here and tried to get in before mid-July should be processed normally for asylum.
It’s far from a great system, but it was a small win for some of these people who struggled and gave up everything for even the chance to get in here.”
The Trump administration has not indicated whether they will challenge the ruling.