By Don Thompson

The Associated Press

Court: U.S. can reject some asylum seekers — The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday cleared the way for the U.S. government to forbid Central American immigrants from seeking asylum at the two busiest stretches of the southern border in a partial legal victory for the Trump administration. The ruling allows President Donald Trump to enforce the policy in New Mexico and Texas, rejecting asylum seekers who cross from Mexico into either state. Under Friday’s ruling, U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar’s July 24 order stopping the policy would apply only in California and Arizona, which are covered by the 9th Circuit. The two busiest areas for unauthorized border crossings are in South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley and the region around El Paso, Texas, which includes New Mexico. Nearly 50,000 people in July crossed the U.S. border without permission in those two regions, according to the U.S. Border Patrol. The policy would deny asylum to anyone who passes through another country on the way to the U.S. without seeking protection there.

— The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California, Oregon and two other states filed the latest court challenge Friday to new Trump administration rules blocking green cards for many immigrants who use public assistance including Medicaid, food stamps and housing vouchers.

Nearly half of Americans would be considered a burden if the same standards were applied to U.S. citizens, said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

“This Trump rule weaponizes nutrition, health care and housing,” Becerra said, by potentially blocking legal immigrants from becoming citizens “if your child participates in something as basic as your neighborhood school lunch or nutrition program.”

The lawsuit he filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco follows others this week including those by Washington and 12 other states. Maine, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia joined the latest lawsuit. Thirteen immigrant advocacy and legal groups led by La Clinica de la Raza filed a separate lawsuit Friday in the same court, arguing the regulation was motivated by racial bias.

The lawsuits all contest one of President Donald Trump’s most aggressive moves to restrict legal immigration. A spokesman for the White House declined comment while U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services did not respond to a request for comment.

The new rules set to take effect in October would broaden a range of programs that can disqualify immigrants from legal status if they are deemed to be a burden to the United States — what’s known as a “public charge.”

The lawsuit argues that the rule creates unnecessary new obstacles for immigrants who want to legally live in the U.S. It also discourages them from using health, nutrition, housing and other programs for fear it will erode their chances of being granted lawful status.

Many immigrants are ineligible for public benefits because of their status, and an Associated Press analysis found low-income immigrants use Medicaid, food aid, cash assistance and Supplemental Security Income at a lower rate than comparable low-income native-born adults.