White House attacks ‘activist judges’ after court blocks Trump’s asylum ban

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By Adam Edelman and Dartunorro Clark

The White House on Tuesday blasted a federal judge for temporarily blocking the Trump administration from refusing asylum to migrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.

In a sharply worded statement late Tuesday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders excoriated the ruling as “yet another example of activist judges imposing their open borders policy preferences.” She vowed that the administration “will take all necessary action” to fight the decision.

“This decision will open the floodgates, inviting countless illegal aliens to pour into our country on the American taxpayer’s dime,” Sanders claimed.

Nov. 20, 201800:36

In a ruling issued late Monday, U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar, who is based in San Francisco, wrote that President Donald Trump’s “rule barring asylum for immigrants who enter the country” outside a port of entry “irreconcilably conflicts” with federal immigration laws and “the expressed intent of Congress.”

“Whatever the scope of the President’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” Tigar, who was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California by President Barack Obama, wrote.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen also condemned the ruling Tuesday at a press conference near the U.S. border in southern California.

“This is a dangerous ruling and, given last year’s Supreme Court ruling on this issue, will undoubtedly be overturned,” Nielsen said.

Though she said she would follow the judge’s order, she said that the country’s “generous asylum system” is being abused and pledged to vigorously secure the border from a caravan of migrants, mostly from Honduras, traveling toward the U.S.

She estimated that 8,000 to 10,000 migrants are attempting to gain entry in the U.S., and that roughly 500 are criminals or gang members.

Nov. 20, 201803:17

“The crisis is real and it is just on the other side of this wall,” she said. “DHS and the administration will continue to take all possible actions to stop the caravan from entering the United States illegally without just cause and to ensure our borders are secure.”

She also claimed, citing “historical trends” and “intel” but no specific evidence, that majority of those in the caravan have “frivolous or unsubstantiated claims of asylum” and are seeking to exploit legal loopholes to gain entry into the U.S.

“Wanting a job is not a basis for asylum under U.S. law,” she said. “Wanting to live in the U.S (is) not a basis of asylum under U.S. law.”

Earlier this month, Trump signed a proclamation that will make it harder for immigrants to claim asylum if they are caught crossing the border between designated ports of entry, fulfilling a key midterm promise to crack down on undocumented immigrants crossing the Southwest border ahead of the expected arrival of migrant caravans heading for the U.S.

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