A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Friday threw out a Trump administration policy barring migrants who illegally crossed the border from seeking asylum, finding that it violated the Immigration and Nationality Act.
A migrant "who enters or attempts to enter the United States across the southern border after failing to apply for protection in a third country outside the alien's country of citizenship, nationality, or last lawful habitual residence through which the alien transited en route to the United States is ineligible for asylum", according to the rule.
Moss said it contradicts standing United States immigration law, which allows undocumented people who are physically present in the country to apply for asylum even if they did not enter at an official port of entry, The Hill newspaper said. "But its practical impact will be more modest, because the policy was already on hold thanks to a nationwide injunction against it from a California court - one that the Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, refused to stay last December".
The case was brought by 19 asylum seekers from Central America, who entered the USA between ports of entry and claimed that the president's restrictions were illegal on a number of counts - including that it is inconsistent with the INA.
"As a matter of common usage, no one would draw a meaningful distinction, for example, between a rule providing that children may not apply for a driver's license and one providing that children are not eligible to receive a driver's license".
Although its intent is to stem the flow of Central American migrants into the U.S., the Trump rule also affects people from other countries trying to reach the U.S. through Mexico - including Cubans, Venezuelans, Brazilians and central Africans, who have been traveling to the U.S. -Mexico border in higher numbers this year.
A judge in San Francisco struck down the asylum ban weeks after it was implemented.
Immigrant rights advocates celebrated the decision, calling it a resounding defeat for the Trump administration that will save lives.
But those restrictions have seen fierce opposition not only in the courts, but in Congress, where Democrats have decried the efforts as cruel and inhumane.