Asylum-seekers rest on blankets used as hammocks. Asylum-seekers rest on blankets used as hammocks in June 2023 while they wait to attempt to cross into the U.S. by appointment. Several Catholic groups are protesting an Aug. 3, 2023 federal appeals court ruling that allows the Biden administration's policy restricting asylum-seekers from entering the country to stand, as it is stranding some migrants at the Mexico border. (OSV News photo/Daniel Becerril, Reuters)

Appeals court temporarily leaves Biden asylum policy in place

WASHINGTON (OSV News) — A Biden administration policy restricting asylum-seekers wanting to enter the U.S. at the southern border can temporarily remain in place, a federal appeals court ruled Aug. 3, pausing a July order from a lower court blocking the policy.

The policy permits immigration authorities to deny asylum to migrants who arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border without first applying online or seeking asylum protections in a different country.

A lower court in July blocked the policy, but gave the Biden administration a two-week window to appeal. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals then voted 2-1 to place a temporary stay on the lower court’s ruling, permitting the Biden administration to enforce the policy while litigation proceeds. The court will likely consider the policy in an expedited fashion, with briefs expected in the case in late September, followed by a hearing.

Catholic immigration groups and the U.S. bishops have objected to the policy, sometimes referred to as the asylum ban, arguing it violates existing U.S. immigration law and exposes those who may otherwise be eligible for asylum to additional danger.

In an Aug. 2 letter to President Joe Biden and other members of his administration, opponents of the policy — including the Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc., Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and Kino Border Initiative — said, “Your administration’s continued fight to uphold this unlawful ban on appeal flies in the face of the values and promises you held high when defending the right to seek asylum on the campaign trail.”

“We call on you to adjust course, comply with the federal court order, and immediately end this policy,” the letter said. “Every day the asylum ban remains intact, it inflicts immeasurable harm on people in urgent need of protection.”

“We urge your administration to end the asylum ban and redouble your focus on effective, humane, and legal solutions, it added.
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Kate Scanlon is a national reporter for OSV News covering Washington. Follow her on Twitter @kgscanlon.

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