On November 9, 2018 President Trump issued a presidential proclamation that, in conjunction with a joint interim final rule issued by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, bars individuals from seeking asylum who enter outside of designated ports of entry at the U.S. – Mexico border. Under this “asylum ban,” only those individuals who cross the border at legal checkpoints would be eligible to apply for asylum. Those who enter elsewhere would only be eligible to apply for more limited forms of relief, withholding of removal or protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). These protections are more difficult to obtain than asylum and provide fewer benefits. In contrast to asylum, withholding of removal and protection under CAT do not provide an opportunity for individuals to apply for permanent residency.
Soon after the proclamation was issued, several groups filed lawsuits challenging the ban. On November 19, 2018, Judge Jon S. Tigar of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco ordered a temporary injunction on the implementation of the asylum ban, reflecting his conclusion that the plaintiffs challenging the ban were likely to succeed on the merits of their claim. The temporary injunction will remain in effect until December 19, 2018 when the court considers arguments for a permanent order.