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Federal judge rules against new Trump asylum rules

On Dec. 19, a federal judge ruled that new Trump administration policies denying immigrants the option of claiming asylum due to gang violence or domestic violence violate U.S. immigration laws. The ruling, which was issued in a U.S. District Court, orders the government to cease using the new rules and to stop deporting immigrants from Florida and elsewhere without providing credible fear determinations, which are required by existing law.

In June, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the new Trump administration immigration policies, claiming that fear of gang violence and domestic abuse did not rise to the standard required to grant asylum. He also stated that U.S. asylum laws are not intended to solve "all misfortune" suffered by citizens of other countries. However, the U.S. District Court judge strongly disagreed, saying that the new policies were "arbitrary, capricious and in violation of the immigration laws." His 107-page decision barred the government from continuing to use the policies. It also ordered immigration officials to follow current U.S. law and provide credible fear determinations for immigrants claiming asylum. It further ordered the U.S. to return any plaintiffs who were deported without a credible fear determination and provide one for them.

The ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a dozen asylum seekers who were denied credible fear determinations under the new policies. The organization applauded the decision, calling it a repudiation of the Trump administration's "assault" on the rights of those seeking asylum. However, the DOJ requested that the judge stay his order while it decides whether to file an appeal.

U.S. immigration law is complicated and subject to change. An immigration attorney could help asylum seekers understand their rights and navigate the complexities of the immigration system.

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