• DOJ and DHS published a “third-country asylum rule” in 2017
  • A federal judge has ruled that the move violated federal law
  • Latest setback in court for Trump administration's immigration policies 

A federal judge in Washington, D.C. upheld a challenge against a 2019 immigration rule that required asylum seekers to apply for refuge first in another country.

District Judge Timothy Kelly ruled that the “third-country asylum rule” jointly published by the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice violated the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The ruling was the latest in a series of setbacks for the Trump administration's immigration policies in court, including a Supreme Court decision invalidating an attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or DACA.

Kelly, who was appointed by Trump to the district court bench in 2017, argued that the Immigration and Nationality Act allowed anyone who steps into the United States to seek asylum with some exceptions.

He also ruled that the administration did not abide by the Administrative Procedure Act when it promulgated the rule. The government is required under that act to give Americans enough time and opportunity to weigh in on changes to some federal rules.

The rule would have prevented immigrants who had not applied for asylum in a third country on the way to the U.S. southern border from seeking asylum in the United States.

Kelly noted that the courts have usually deferred judgments of national security to the executive branch. “But determining the scope of an APA exception is not one of them,” he wrote in his ruling.

Neal Katyal, a lawyer involved in the challenge against the asylum rule, tweeted that the ruling would go into effect immediately.

“This decision invalidates Trump’s ‘asylum ban’ at the Southern border,” Katyal tweeted.

On Friday (June 27), the Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled 2-1 that the administration did not have the authority to use funds from the military to pay for the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

On June 18, the Supreme Court ruled that the Department of Homeland Security failed to follow federal law in attempting to end DACA. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court called the attempt to end the program “arbitrary and capricious.”

The Trump administration did have at least one win when the Supreme Court ruled last week that some immigrants cannot challenge a decision for their deportation in federal court.