Civil Rights Groups Sue Trump Administration Over New Asylum Rule

Multiple civil rights groups filed suit today against the Trump administration, challenging its new rule seeking to severely limit the asylum protections that are available under US and international law to migrants at the US-Mexico border. The American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Center for Constitutional Rights filed one of the main legal challenges in California’s Northern District Court on behalf of immigrant advocacy groups, alleging that the new rule violates US immigration law as well as administrative law. The lawsuit seeks declaratory relief stating that the interim final rule is invalid and unlawful, as well as preliminary and permanent injunctive relief to block its implementation.

The rule, which was scheduled to go into effect today, would effectively deny asylum relief to the vast majority of migrants at the southern US border by requiring them to have applied for and been denied asylum in the first country they passed through on their way to the US in order to be eligible for asylum protections in the US. An earlier attempt by the Trump administration to deny asylum relief to individuals who did not come to the US through legal ports of entry was stopped following legal challenges.

Additional Reading

Civil Rights Groups File Lawsuit Challenging New Trump Asylum Restrictions, NBC News, July 16, 2019

Groups File Federal Lawsuit Challenging New Trump Asylum Restrictions, Center for Constitutional Rights Press Release, July 16, 2019

Complaint, East Bay Sanctuary Covenant et al. v. William P. Barr et. al, filed July 16, 2019, via Justia Dockets

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