(CNN) — In renewing his order to bar people who cross the border illegally from seeking asylum, President Donald Trump issued a proclamation that criticized a federal judge that’s kept his policy in check thus far — an unusual step for such a formal order.
Trump’s original November proclamation establishing the ban was blocked a federal judge in Northern California and upheld by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals. In order to ensure the ban would take effect should those courts be overturned, the White House had to renew the proclamation, which had expired, starting another 90-day clock.
“The ability of the United States to address those problems has also been hampered by a nationwide injunction issued by a United States District Judge in the Northern District of California,” Thursday’s proclamation reads, referring to migrant caravans journeying to the US-Mexico border.
It goes on: “Should the injunction be lifted, aliens who enter the United States unlawfully through the southern border in contravention of this proclamation will be ineligible to be granted asylum under that interim final rule.”
Trump has frequently railed against the 9th Circuit as “very unfair.” His criticisms draw on previous decisions by judges that have kept other administration immigration policies from moving forward, like the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that Trump has sought to end.
Last December, a panel of judges on the 9th Circuit upheld federal District Judge Jon Tigar’s original temporary injunction of the asylum ban. Tigar wrote that the ban “irreconcilably conflicts” with immigration law and that restrictions would put asylum seekers at “increased risk of violence and other harms at the border” if it was to take effect.
The appeals court concurred, saying in a 2-1 decision, that the ban was “likely inconsistent with existing United States law.” US law allows migrants to seek asylum at, and between, ports of entry.
“Just as we may not, as we are often reminded, ‘legislate from the bench,’ neither may the Executive legislate from the Oval Office,” wrote Circuit Judge Jay Bybee, a George W. Bush nominee, for the majority.
In another blow to the administration, the Supreme Court, in late December, refused to allow the administration to enforce the policy.
Trump has denounced the nation’s immigration system and grown frustrated with the uptick in asylum claims and what he dubs asylum loopholes. His latest proclamation is yet another attempt to limit who can seek asylum and take aim at courts that have come between him and his immigration policies.
The White House has not responded to a request for comment.
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