Justice Department to appeal judge's order barring US from refusing asylum to illegal immigrants

The Justice Department on Tuesday said it plans to appeal a court order barring the government from refusing asylum to immigrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.

The department filed a notice of plans to appeal the order to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and also requested that District Judge Jon Tigar issue a stay of his Nov. 19 order.


President Trump on Nov. 9 issued a proclamation that said anyone who crossed the southern border between officials ports of entry would be ineligible for asylum.

In the injunction, Tigar sided with legal groups who noted federal law, which says immigrants in the U.S. can request asylum regardless of whether they entered the country lawfully.

"Whatever the scope of the President's authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden," the judge said in his order.

The administration insists it must regulate asylum claims, partly because of the caravans of migrants that are starting to arrive at the border.

Hours after Tigar issued the nationwide injunction, Trump said he was "going to put in a major complaint" about the appellate court, which is based in San Francisco. He also criticized the Ninth Circuit, and called it a "disgrace" and alleged on Twitter that the court has "Obama judges."


Tigar was nominated by former President Obama in 2012 to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Trump's remark led to a back-and-forth with Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who released a rare statement rebuking Trump.

“We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” Roberts said last Wednesday. “What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them."

Asylum is intended for people who have fled their countries of origin because they have suffered persecution or fear that they will be persecuted if they are forced to return.

Crossing the U.S.-Mexico border between ports of entry is a federal crime, but that does not typically preclude someone from requesting asylum. Tigar noted that federal law says someone may seek asylum if they have arrived in the U.S., "whether or not at a designated port of arrival."

Illegal crossings overall are well below the historical highs from previous decades.

Fox News' Andrew O'Reilly and The Associated Press contributed to this report.