Immigration Rights issue image


Location: Washington, D.C.
Last Update: February 5, 2021

What's at Stake

The American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, and Public Citizen filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of asylum seekers — including numerous children — unlawfully trapped in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas, one of the most violent and lawless regions in the world.

The asylum seekers — 12 adults and their 14 children — fled violence and persecution in their home countries and sought refuge in the United States. The Trump administration instead forced them back across the border to Tamaulipas, Mexico, to await their removal proceedings.

The groups are asking the court to allow these asylum seekers to return to the United States so they can pursue their removal proceedings from safety.

Though Tamaulipas is under a State Department “do not travel” advisory due to the severe violence, the Department of Homeland Security sent the plaintiffs there, where they have endured months-long horrific abuse, including assault, kidnapping, and rape by organized groups that control the area.

Asylum seekers are in Mexico pursuant to the so-called “Migrant Protection Protocols” (MPP), which forces them to remain in Mexico while they await the adjudication of their asylum applications in immigration proceedings in the U.S. A federal appeals court has ruled that MPP is illegal, but that decision has been stayed pending the administration’s request for Supreme Court review.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. It cites violations of the Administrative Procedure Act and the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

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