Federal Judge Blocks President Trump’s Illegal Asylum Ban

UPDATE, Nov. 20, 2018: Late Monday night, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking President Trump’s asylum ban while the suit moves forward. The order will be in effect until Dec. 19 at least, when there will be another hearing on the ban. In his order, Judge Jon S. Tigar of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco wrote, “The rule barring asylum for immigrants who enter the country outside a port of entry irreconcilably conflicts with the INA [Immigration and Naturalization Act] and the expressed intent of Congress. Whatever the scope of the President’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden.” 

Claiming that the illegal entry of immigrants across the southern border of the United States is a national crisis, President Trump on Friday issued a proclamation purporting to bar the entry of all persons entering the United States at any place other than an official port of entry.  

The Trump administration’s action is contrary to the founding values of the country — welcoming homeless refugees to our shores. It also violates U.S. law, so we, along with the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Southern Poverty Law Center, filed suit against the administration on behalf of several nonprofit organizations that provide assistance to refugees and asylum seekers. The plaintiffs include the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, Al Otro Lado, Innovation Law Lab, and the Central American Resource Center.

Federal law specifically guarantees that “[a]ny alien who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States,” at a designated port of entry or not, is entitled to apply for asylum. In writing that law, Congress was specific and clear that immigrants who fear persecution in their home countries are entitled to seek asylum regardless of how they entered the United States.

This right is particularly important because U.S. government officials are routinely denying entry to asylum seekers at official ports of entry. We and our partners have documented numerous instances of Border Patrol agents arbitrarily and unreasonably delaying access to the asylum process by threatening, intimidating, providing misinformation, and using physical force to turn away people seeking asylum.

The administration claims that the southern border is overwhelmed with migrants and that it does not have the capacity to process the huge number of asylum applications. But in fact, migration at the southern border is far lower now than it has been in recent years. The number of migrants apprehended by Border Patrol officials at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2017 is the lowest annual number since 1972.

This so-called crisis at the border has been manufactured by the Trump administration to justify its anti-immigrant and anti-refugee agenda. In fiscal year 2018, Customs and Border Protection processed 1.25 million fewer people arriving at the southern border than in fiscal year 2000, despite having a budget and staff that has doubled since then. Despite this, asylum seekers who wish to present at the San Ysidro Port of Entry are currently waiting an average of four to six weeks in Tijuana due to an alleged lack of CBP capacity.

Earlier this summer, only six asylum seekers were processed each day at the port of entry in Nogales, despite a backlog of more than 100 people waiting in Mexico to apply. The port is capable of holding 47 people at a time.

These asylum seekers are fleeing some of the most dangerous countries in the world. Many come from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, and they are running from life-or-death situations, leaving everything behind to make a dangerous journey. In particular, violence against women by criminal armed groups has escalated dramatically in Central America, and home governments have been unable or unwilling to provide effective protection from persecution.

Upon being turned away from ports of entry, some have been raped, beaten, and kidnapped and held for ransom by cartel members waiting outside. Even shelters outside ports of entry are not always safe, as cartels often infiltrate them. Because they need to reach safety as quickly as possible, and because of CBP’s seemingly deliberate efforts to stop asylum seekers from entering, many feel compelled to enter the United States along the border, outside of a port of entry, in order to escape their persecutors and the violence on Mexico’s side of the border. 

The Trump administration is spreading fears that people who do not have legitimate asylum claims may file applications. But U.S. law is already set up to address such claims. The solution is to ensure that there are adequate asylum officers to efficiently make determinations as to who has legitimate asylum claims and who does not. The solution is not to send the military to the border and issue a blanket denial to all asylum seekers who don’t cross at points of entry — thereby gravely endangering those who have legitimate asylum claims.

Learn more about the case

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, in fiscal year 2015, 82 percent of the women from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico who were subject to a credible fear screening by an asylum officer were found to have a significant possibility of establishing eligibility for asylum or protection under the Convention Against Torture. Between fiscal years 2014 and 2016, 12,350  people from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras were granted asylum.

President Trump has claimed that migrants are abusing our system by requesting political asylum and then disappearing into the country and never showing up for their immigration hearings. In fact, once asylum seekers pass their initial screenings — known as credible fear interviews — and are released into the United States, they overwhelmingly show up for their immigration hearings. According to data from the Department of Justice, in fiscal year 2017, 89 percent of asylum seekers appeared for their hearings.

We intend to make sure this continues to be the case and look forward to seeing the administration in court.

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Anonymouswayne black

ACLU, your a bunch of worthless assholes who use to be for American rights now you piss on our democracy and want more illegals to overwhelm our country and cost American Tax Payers Millions of dollars to house, Pay for their Kids , medical and crime they cause . Why in the Hell don't you pay for all the illegals coming into our country so my tax money can go to pay for America. Whos paying My rent or medical bills, I have gone bankrupt because of my medical bills , yet they get free medical anytime they want with no co pays , where is your fight for American citizens, let me guess you don't give dam about our democracy, your in the bed of the loony left. get back to me when you decide to flip the billions on all the illegal aliens and let the American citizens stop paying for all the entitlements . Your slow death with be joyous for America.

Anonymous

Undocumented immigrants cannot claim welfare benefits. They also provide a positive impact towards state and federal taxes (and do not claim tax returns generally, thus even more money back into the government). Your medical bill problems have absolutely nothing to do with immigration, but instead greedy pharmaceutical companies bleeding you dry. Oh, and the politicians who take their bribes.

Anonymous

IM suing the ACLU for Billions, For them to pay for all the Illegals that they defend. Defend Americans, not your potential Voters, your the most worthless and not even worth the paper that I wipe my ass on.

Anonymous

I think a class action law suit is a great idea.

Anonymous

You don't have standing. You've been listening to Trump's foolishness so much, you could wipe your ass with it.

Anonymous

It is appalling to me and many other American Citizens to see your partisan left leaning liberal organization continue to dedicate resources on behalf of illegal aliens who are jeopardizing our country. You continue to obstruct the Trump Administration who is trying to put Americans first by securing our border and ensuring that those who are rightfully eligible for asylum can expeditiously be processed. I read your lawsuit and it was not only riddled with inaccurate statistical data related to illegal border crossing and asylum claims, but I was shocked that your stated "HARM" was financial. That the Administration should not put policies in place to protect this country because the organizations that provide representation to illegal aliens will be harmed financially, really? How about the harm to the American People? $134 BILLION per year for illegal aliens while American vets, American impoverished children, the American homeless languish on our streets. When will the ACLU stand up for the civil liberties of AMERICANS?

Anonymous

..."fiscal year 2015, 82% of the women from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico who were subject to a credible fear screening by an asylum officer were found to have a significant possibility of establishing eligibility for asylum or protection under the Convention Against Torture..."
YOU FORGOT TO MENTION:
"Immigration courts granted a valid credible asylum claim in only 20 percent of cases in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 and 17 percent of cases in FY 2016."
Most of these illegal aliens are coming for economic reasons, not fear. YOU KNOW IT...EVERYONE KNOWS IT. And the only one trying to do something about it is PRESIDENT TRUMP. Congress has failed miserably.

AnonymouS

Good point. But you failed to understand that the Senate sent immigration legislation to the House during Bush's last term in office. President Bush tried to do something about it, but his own party was against it. And probably the biggest point here is that there are two different things being covered, asylum seekers, and economic migration for a better life. The former most likely would stay, because going back would cause harm to themselves or their families; but the latter one is a temporary thing much of the time -- that really they only want the money so they can go back because they love their home country.

It's also amazing how many America retirees like to go live in Mexico and other countries to the south, because it costs less on their limited income. So they leave America to live somewhere that they also might find something for themselves, but no one is calling them illegal immigrants to those countries.

Anonymous

S: how many illegal aliens self deported?

Anonymous

First name the law that Trump is breaking second the law cannot apply until people actually enter the US, our laws do not apply outside our borders, you know that but you refuse to acknowledge it in your article. These people are not seeking sanctuary, they are looking for better jobs, that is why they won't stop in Mexico even though Mexico has offered them asylum

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