The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled that the Trump Administration failed to follow procedures set forth under federal law in appointing Ken Cuccinelli to a leadership role in US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in 2019. As a result, two rule changes to the asylum process implemented under his leadership should be considered nullified, according to the judge.
Fifteen plaintiffs and two nonprofit organizations have filed a new class action lawsuit seeking improvement of what is reported to be severely inadequate healthcare in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facilities. Filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center, Disability Rights Advocates, and the law firm of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, the lawsuit does not seek money damages, but instead requests that ICE closely track these conditions and improve healthcare at its facilities.
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.
In a new rule that is planned to be effective Tuesday, the Trump administration is seeking to reverse decades of asylum policy by effectively denying protections to most migrants seeking asylum at the southern border of the US. The new policy, which the American Civil Liberties Union plans to promptly challenge in court, would require asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border to prove that they have sought and been denied asylum in a so-called "safe third country" before they can apply for protection in the US.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has canceled the deportation of a worker who was arrested and detained in a 2008 immigration enforcement raid on a California factory, ruling that immigration authorities violated federal regulations and the Constitution when they conducted the raid without reasonable suspicion that the approximately 130 people they detained were in the country without authorization.
In a new ruling, Judge Dana Sabraw has given the federal government six months to locate children separated from their families at the border under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy. Though many of the more than 2000 children the government took from their families have since been reunited pursuant to a June 2018 court order, reports indicate that there may be thousands more children that are currently unaccounted for.
Court papers filed late last week show that according to the government's most recent estimates, close to 500 children, including 22 under the age of 5, remain in US custody after being separated from their parents at the border earlier this year pursuant to the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" policy. The greatest logistical challenge that government officials and immigrants' rights advocates have faced in reuniting many of these children with their families is that their parents were deported without them, and are now proving difficult if not impossible to locate.
In a joint status report filed last week, the Department of Justice provided its most detailed figures to date regarding the status of migrant children who were separated from their parents at the border this year under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy, stating that 24 children under the age of 5 remain separated. Under the policy, the administration separated more than 2,600 children from their parents, and reports that over 360 parents who are still separated are outside the country, with many having been deported without their children.
Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the US District Court for the District of Columbia halted the deportation in progress of a mother and daughter this week, and threatened to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt due to the fact that court proceedings appealing their deportation were in progress. An attorney for the ACLU, which filed a lawsuit on August 7, 2018 challenging the Department of Justice's recent policy change that aims to fast track the removal of asylum seekers who do not pass their credible fear interviews, and eliminates gang and domestic violence as grounds for seeking asylum in the US, received a notice in the middle of a hearing on the case before Judge Sullivan that the mother and daughter were on a deportation flight to El Salvador.
Judge Dana Sabraw strongly rejected the Trump Administration's recent argument that the ACLU and other immigrants' rights advocates should be responsible for locating the more than 450 immigrant parents the administration deported after separating them from their children earlier this year. The judge said it is "100%" the government's responsibility to locate and reunite deported parents with their children, and stated that if it fails to do so, it will have "permanently orphaned" the children it separated from them.