Multiple civil rights groups filed suit today against the Trump administration, challenging its new rule seeking to severely limit the asylum protections that are available under US and international law to migrants at the US-Mexico border. The American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Center for Constitutional Rights filed one of the main legal challenges in California's Northern District Court on behalf of immigrant advocacy groups, alleging that the new rule violates US immigration law as well as administrative law. The lawsuit seeks declaratory relief stating that the interim final rule is invalid and unlawful, as well as preliminary and permanent injunctive relief to block its implementation.
In a new rule that is planned to be effective Tuesday, the Trump administration is seeking to reverse decades of asylum policy by effectively denying protections to most migrants seeking asylum at the southern border of the US. The new policy, which the American Civil Liberties Union plans to promptly challenge in court, would require asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border to prove that they have sought and been denied asylum in a so-called "safe third country" before they can apply for protection in the US.
According to news reports, since May the federal government has filed four condemnation lawsuits against local residents in the Brownsville, Texas area for the purpose of constructing a border wall along the southern border of the US. Some residents, who have been informed that the government wants access to their property for purposes of surveying land that would be involved in border wall construction, are contesting the government's terms for use of their land.
The State of California has filed a new lawsuit against the Trump administration, arguing that the Federal Railroad Administration's sudden decision to pull almost $1 billion in funding for a planned high-speed rail connection between San Francisco and Los Angeles was payback for the state's opposition to Trump's plans to construct a wall along the southern border of the US as part of his immigration policy. The state's lawsuit alleges that in the days following certain criticisms made by California Governor Gavin Newsom of Trump's border wall plans, Trump made a series of Tweets criticizing the state's position on his immigration policies as well as its handling of the rail project, demonstrating the link between the funding cancellation and the border wall dispute.
In a new ruling, Judge Dana Sabraw has given the federal government six months to locate children separated from their families at the border under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy. Though many of the more than 2000 children the government took from their families have since been reunited pursuant to a June 2018 court order, reports indicate that there may be thousands more children that are currently unaccounted for.
A federal judge in Alaska has ruled that President Trump does not have the authority to re-open Arctic waters to drilling that the Obama administration closed to drilling in 2016. Judge Sharon L. Gleason explained that while a 1953 law called the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) permits a president to remove waters from drilling, it does not contain a provision allowing a president to add waters to the list of available drilling sites.
California has filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Northern California to challenge a new regulation the Trump administration plans to enact in order to block access to abortion and family planning services. Specifically, the case seeks to enjoin new rules adopted under Title X of the Public Health Service Act, a family planning program funded by the federal government. Oregon, Washington, and approximately 20 other states are expected to file suit as well.
A group of 16 states, including the border states of California and New Mexico, has gone to court to challenge the Trump administration's attempt to invoke emergency powers in order to fund the construction of a border wall. The lawsuit, which was filed in federal district court in San Francisco, raises not only constitutional issues related to who controls federal spending, but also may turn on issues of standing and statutory interpretation.
In an order issued today, the US Supreme Court has granted the Trump administration's request to stay orders in two cases filed in federal district courts within the 9th Circuit to block the administration's policy banning most transgender people from serving in the military from going into effect. The Court's decision permits the ban to be temporarily implemented while the cases progress through the appeals process and any Supreme Court review. The Court denied the Trump administration's request to bypass the appellate process completely, but provides a preview of how the Court will likely rule if it hears these cases on the merits.
The US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has ruled against the Trump administration's attempt to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA permits approximately 600,000 unauthorized immigrants who arrived in the US as children to remain in the country legally by seeking permission from the Department of Homeland Security every two years. Though the Trump administration had asked the US Supreme Court to weigh in on the case pending in the 9th Circuit before the appellate ruling, now that the appellate court has issued its decision, it is even more likely that the Supreme Court will take up the matter in 2019.