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In a dissenting opinion, Justice Sotomayor said the Supreme Court has a bias towards the Trump administration.

On February 21, Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued a dissenting opinion to a Supreme Court ruling allowing the Trump administration’s new public charge rule to take effect in Illinois, despite an existing injunction in that state. In her opinion, she wrote that the Supreme Court was “all too quick to grant the Government’s ‘reflexiv[e]’ requests” and that the “disparity in treatment erodes the fair and balanced decisionmaking process.”

A Texas federal court blocked defense funding for the border wall.

Judge Briones in El Paso, Texas issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against the president’s use of $3.6 billion in military construction funding for the border wall. The president’s proclamation that allowed the use of those funds violated congressional restrictions that limited border wall funding to $1.375 billion. This $3.6 billion was separate from the $2.5 billion in drug interdiction funding. The Supreme Court lifted the injunction against the $2.5 billion in July, meaning that the Trump administration can use those funds while litigation proceeds.

Under new asylum rules, asylum seekers can be sent to unfamiliar countries even if presenting at the U.S. border.

Up until now, the U.S. has been crafting “safe third country”-like agreements with countries like Guatemala, requiring asylum seekers to apply for asylum in those countries if they pass through them on the way to the U.S.  The Trump administration published a rule in the Federal Register on November 19 that makes it possible for the U.S. to send asylum seekers to other countries, even if the asylum seeker never passed through those countries. This step is one more that will decrease the amount of asylum seekers coming to the U.S. Under the new rule, asylum seekers being sent to another country will have to prove that “more likely than not,” they will be persecuted in that country- a high bar to pass. The fast-tracked rule was published and made effective on November 19, and is open for comment until December 19.

The Trump administration has notified landowners that it is surveying their land for the border wall.

The Trump administration is planning on using eminent domain to acquire private land in Texas to use for the border wall. On Thursday, the government sent Right of Entry letters to dozens of landowners informing them that it will be surveying the land. The owners must sign the letters for the government to be able to come onto the land, but if they don’t sign, the matter will be escalated to the DOJ to get court-ordered access. Acting CBP Commissioner Morgan stated that he is aware there will likely be litigation over the land acquisition, but thinks that the government is “on track” to get the 450 miles for the wall.

A privacy rights group has sued the Trump administration over border DNA testing.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration on November 12 to compel the government to release documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Specifically, EFF is looking for information on “the number of individuals whose DNA had been collected, the accuracy of DNA matches, and the exact gene processing used to identify parent-child relationships.” The DNA testing used by the government claims to have results within 90 minutes, which has raised some questions on accuracy. Additionally, though the government claims that the DNA tests are voluntary based on consent forms, EFF has concerns about coercion. According to EFF, the consent forms claim that refusing a DNA test can result in family separation. For now, the lawsuit is only about getting information about the testing under FOIA.

The U.S. has been sued over Trump’s health insurance requirement for immigrants.

A non-profit and citizens in Portland, Oregon filed a lawsuit on Wednesday alleging that the president’s decision to require prospective immigrants to have health insurance violates separation of powers and is an attempt to override the will of Congress in the realms of immigration and healthcare. The lawsuit is seeking class-action status and to block the rule from going into effect while litigation is ongoing. The rule will apply to people seeking immigrant visas from abroad and is set to take effect on Sunday, November 3.

Thirteen States File Lawsuit over Trump ‘Public Charge’ Rule

The Hill reports that 13 states led by Washington Attorney General Robert Ferguson and Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring filed a lawsuit Wednesday over the Trump administration’s new “public charge” rule. The complaint states, “The rule is arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion because—among other reasons—it reverses a decades-old, consistent policy without reasoned analysis.”

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