The ruling was issued on Monday by Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco. The judge said in the ruling that the directive by the president “irreconcilably conflicts” with federal immigration laws and the “expressed intent of Congress.”
He went on to note that while it’s true that the president has broad executive authority, he cannot rewrite immigration laws or impose conditions that have expressly been forbidden by Congress. Tigar was nominated in the Northern District of California by former president Barack Obama.
Immigration lobby groups sued president Trump after the executive order was issued arguing that existing immigration laws allow people to seek asylum in the US regardless of where or how they cross the border.
The White House had hoped the proclamation which was signed earlier this month would make it harder for people to seek asylum in the US. The president has been talking tough on immigration lately and many of his supporters see the proclamation as the first in many steps to crack down on undocumented immigrants.
At one point, Trump even said he will end birthright citizenship through an executive order. This was widely criticized by legal experts who made it clear that executive power bestowed upon the president cannot override the constitution.
This rhetoric came as thousands of Central American immigrants continued to march towards the US border to seek asylum at the legal ports of entry.
However, a number of officials within the White House don’t agree with the court order. They argue the president has the legal authority to issue such a proclamation because of certain sections within federal immigration laws giving the president the discretion to decide who gets admitted into the country.
This is the same argument made when Trump issued the infamous travel ban barring citizens from five majority Muslim countries from entering the US. The ban faced a lot of legal resistance at the time before it was upheld by the Supreme Court after numerous changes.
The Trump administration has stated many times before that the asylum system in the country is “broken.” The president himself has stated there are tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants who abuse this system - he argues the recent migrant caravans coming into the US are a threat to National Security.
Trump went as far as to claim members of terrorist organizations were traveling with the caravans. This claim was soon refuted by US intelligence. The president has also termed the migrant caravan an invasion and has since deployed US troops at the southern border to assist border officers in handling the situation. The deployment has been considered by analysts a “political stunt.”
The DHS reported that before the suspension border officials had arrested 107 undocumented immigrants crossing the border illegaly.
The new court order will stand for at least a month unless there’s an appeal.