US District Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco has blocked an order issued by President Trump to deny asylum to migrants crossing the southern US border illegally after hearing arguments by civil rights groups.
He responded in a case brought by The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Center for Constitutional Rights. They argued that Mr Trump's ruling was illegal. Thousands of migrants from across Central America who say they are fleeing persecution have been travelling north for weeks towards the US-Mexico border. About 3,000 members of the caravan have so far arrived in Tijuana, the Mexican city bordering the US. The city's authorities expect numbers to reach 10,000 in coming weeks.
In the run-up to the US mid-term elections, President Trump said many of the migrants were criminals, called the caravan an invasion, and ordered troops to the border. But Judge Tigar, in his ruling, said current legislation made it clear that any foreigner arriving in the US "whether or not at a designated port of arrival" could apply for asylum. "Whatever the scope of the president's authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden," Judge Tigar added. The ban was to last 90 days or until the US reached an agreement with Mexico to turn back asylum-seekers.