Florence Project Welcomes Ruling Vacating Asylum Ban in East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Biden

The Florence Project is relieved and heartened by the decision in East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Biden to vacate the asylum ban, though it will not take effect for 14 days. President Biden’s asylum ban was implemented in May, after a rushed notice and comment period, and replaced Title 42 in drastically limiting access to protection in the United States. The ban combines two illegal Trump-era policies: a third country transit ban, which bars access to asylum for anyone who has passed through a third country (including Mexico) on their way to the U.S. and has not requested and been denied protection there first, and an entry ban, which bars access to asylum for anyone who does not present with an appointment scheduled through the CBP One app.  

“This ruling is a victory for the people that we serve and all those seeking protection in the United States,” said Laura St. John, Florence Project Legal Director. “Since this illegal and immoral ban was initially proposed, we have called on the Biden administration to reverse course, knowing that it would prevent many people fleeing harm and persecution from accessing a fair and humane process in the United States and trap them in gravely dangerous conditions. In the two months that the ban has been in place, this has been borne out. The Biden administration must stop defending this policy in court and instead work to restore robust, humane asylum processing for everyone seeking protection in the United States. Every day that they continue to fight to keep the ban in place is another day that people are put in harm’s way by this administration’s policies.”  

In his decision, Judge Jon Tigar found that the transit and entry ban provisions are illegal, citing previous precedent from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals determining transit bans to be illegal. Judge Tigar also found that the rule is arbitrary and capricious because its exceptions, including presenting via an appointment through the CBP One app, the parole programs for people from Cuba, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, or applying for asylum in third countries are not viable options for most people. 

The Florence Project and many partners called on the Biden administration to refrain from implementing a cruel and illegal rule, as this policy recycled rules put in place by the prior administration that had been struck down and puts asylum seekers in grave danger. This is a huge victory, but only the first step in our ongoing efforts to restore access to asylum. U.S. law clearly protects the rights of people seeking safety, and we urge the Biden administration to direct resources toward supporting those seeking protection rather than turning them away with cruel efficiency. 

Read the full decision here.