WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court has struck down Trump administration policies that sought to gut protections for asylum seekers fleeing domestic violence and gangs.
The American Civil Liberties Union and Center for Gender & Refugee Studies challenged the policies that sought to speedily send women and children and other asylum seekers back to countries where they faced brutal violence and death. The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., today upheld key aspects of a lower court ruling against the administration. The case is Grace v. Barr.
“The court rejected the Trump administration’s attempt to obliterate asylum protections. This ruling is a major defeat for the administration’s assault on asylum rights and the law,” said Cody Wofsy, an attorney with the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, who argued the case.
The plaintiffs include women who have endured extensive persecution in the form of sexual and physical violence. Fearing they would be seriously harmed or killed, they sought refuge in the U.S., many of them with their young children. But under the new policies, even though government officials found the accounts truthful, they concluded the women did not have a “credible fear of persecution” under the new heightened screening policies, and ordered them to be sent back to the countries where they face grave harm.
“Our plaintiffs sought refuge in the United States after enduring unimaginable horrors in their home countries. Today’s decision ensures that the administration cannot just change the rules of the game with the stroke of a pen and deny them the protections to which they are entitled,” said CGRS Legal Director Blaine Bookey. “Importantly, this ruling recognizes that women and others fleeing domestic violence and gang brutality cannot be cast aside as undeserving and must have their claims considered fairly, on a case-by-case basis.”
Case details: https://www.aclu.org/cases/grace-v-barr