In June 2018, the Trump administration announced a new "expedited removal" policy which denied people the right to seek asylum based on domestic or gang violence. Now, a federal judge has struck down that policy as being in violation of the Immigration and Naturalization Act, the Administrative Procedure Act and the Refugee Act. He also found that there was no legal basis "for an effective categorical ban on domestic violence and gang-related claims."
With thousands of men, women and children headed toward our Southern border, many will be seeking asylum in the United States. This is an entirely legal process, and the U.S. pledged in the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees to accept eligible asylum seekers and a share of qualifying refugees. That treaty, commonly called the 1951 Refugee Convention, also prohibits the U.S. from returning refugees and asylum seekers to the countries they fled from.
Even though the number of refugees being admitted to the United States has reached an historic low, the Trump administration is considering reducing that number even further. The U.S. refugee program is meant to offer a chance at stability for people forced out of their homes by disasters or unrest.
The immigration courts work somewhat differently from other courts in the U.S. Rather than being independent and staffed by judges who base their authority on a constitutional mandate, they are considered part of the Department of Justice and are staffed by administrative law judges. That means that the head of the DOJ -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions -- has a certain amount authority over immigration judges.