Federal Judge Accuses Biden Administration of Legal Collusion in Immigration Case

A federal appeals court judge sharply criticized the Biden administration on Wednesday, accusing the Justice Department of employing questionable legal tactics in a pivotal immigration case. Circuit Judge Lawrence VanDyke asserted that the administration appeared to be collaborating with the ACLU and other immigrant rights groups to abandon a significant new immigration policy.

VanDyke suggested that the Biden team aimed to sidestep Supreme Court review and preserve longstanding migrant-friendly rulings from the typically liberal 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He implied that the administration might be avoiding a potential political setback or seeking to influence future enforcement efforts.

“In essence, it appears the administration and its adversaries in this case are working together to dodge a politically charged showdown during an election year,” wrote Judge VanDyke, who was appointed by former President Trump.

The case revolves around an asylum policy introduced last year, which imposes stricter criteria on asylum claims based on whether individuals had the opportunity to seek asylum in another country before arriving in the U.S. Advocates argue that those traversing multiple countries may not qualify as genuine asylum seekers.

Immigrant rights organizations swiftly challenged the rule in court. Initially, the Biden administration vigorously defended the policy, warning of potential chaos at the border if it were overturned.

However, the administration has now aligned with its opponents, including the ACLU, and requested that the court suspend proceedings while they negotiate a settlement. A 2-1 court decision granted the request, with Judge VanDyke dissenting, criticizing the move as an attempt to manipulate the legal process.

VanDyke expressed concerns that the administration’s actions mirrored a pattern seen in cases involving liberal administrations and sympathetic activists, a practice known as “sue-and-settle.” He suggested that the administration may seek to appease its base while blaming the courts for any ensuing issues resulting from the policy.

The judge noted the administration’s seemingly strong legal position and questioned the decision to pursue a settlement, particularly given the likelihood of success before the Supreme Court.

“In light of these circumstances, it appears the administration is deliberately avoiding a victory that would likely come later this year, whether from this court or the Supreme Court,” VanDyke concluded.