The Trump administration scored a major victory in the courtroom on Wednesday after a federal judge denied a request to block the president’s freeze on many green card applications.
Immigrant-rights groups asked U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon to issue a temporary injunction against Trump’s order blocking green card applications from foreign nationals living outside the United States, with the plaintiffs attempting to tie their request to a previous decision by the judge that blocked Trump’s ban on immigrants who could not afford health care.
Simon, however, ruled that the order is not related to the previous case.
“The April 22nd Proclamation is completely unrelated to the October 4th Proclamation,” he wrote in his order.
Simon rejected the suggestion by plaintiffs that the All Writs Act of 1789 affords him sweeping authority to take action concerning any immigration executive orders.
“Simply because the April 22nd Proclamation may preclude or delay the processing of immigrant visa applications is too attenuated from the allegations in the First Amended Class Action Complaint to support an extraordinary writ under the All Writs Act,” Simon continued.
Trump tweeted on April 20 that he would soon sign an executive order banning immigration into the United States. The White House released that order two days later, which for 60 days suspends many green card applications from foreign nationals living outside the country.
The order, he said, was not only intended to protect Americans from the spread of coronavirus, but also to protect U.S. workers who were hurting under a faltering economy. There are exceptions to the order, such as applicants who are younger than 21 years of age.
Immigrant rights groups, however, filed an emergency motion, arguing that the visa ban order puts at risk young applicants who will soon turn 21 and risk aging out of the professional status. These same plaintiffs were successful in 2019 in requesting Simon order an injunction against Trump’s green card ban against applicants who lacked or could not afford health care.
The Oregon judge, nevertheless, found the pending case on health care was unrelated to the green card ban.
“Just because the Court issued orders based on a complaint relating to the processing of immigrant visa applications, that does not mean that the Court has the authority … to stop enforcement of every immigration-related executive order (or other action) that might affect members of the certified class,” Simon, an Obama-appointed judge, wrote.
Immigration hawks celebrated the ruling.
“We applaud the court’s reasonable ruling,” Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), said in a statement released Thursday.
IRLI had previously filed a friend-of-the-court brief that defended the administration’s actions.
“It is especially important because this was the first challenge to President Trump’s immigration pause, and its rejection will resonate in future assaults on his lawful authority to protect Americans’ well-being during these dire economic times,” Wilcox continued.
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