ACLU sues White House to halt asy­lum re­stric­tions

Lodi News-Sentinel - - NATION - By Kar­tikay Mehro­tra

SAN FRAN­CISCO — The Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union is chal­leng­ing the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s lat­est at­tempt to seal the U.S. south­ern bor­der by stop­ping un­doc­u­mented mi­grants from seek­ing asy­lum af­ter they’ve al­ready en­tered the coun­try.

The ad­vo­cacy group is seek­ing a court or­der tem­po­rar­ily pre­vent­ing the gov­ern­ment from restrict­ing asy­lum ap­pli­ca­tions to those made at of­fi­cial ports of en­try. The re­stric­tions will take ef­fect Satur­day af­ter Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump signed a procla­ma­tion for­mally chang­ing asy­lum rules.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion is try­ing to stop mi­grants from en­ter­ing the coun­try through il­le­gal bor­der cross­ings and then ap­ply­ing to U.S. Cit­i­zen­ship and Im­mi­gra­tion Ser­vices for po­lit­i­cal asy­lum within a year. Cur­rently, that ap­pli­ca­tion is fol­lowed by a so-called “cred­i­ble fear” in­ter­view to de­ter­mine the le­git­i­macy of the ap­pli­cant’s plight in their home coun­try.

Un­der the new rules, mi­grants will first be scru­ti­nized at the bor­der for their method of en­try. Those de­ter­mined to have been evad­ing au­thor­i­ties will rejected for asy­lum.

Ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials claim the asy­lum sys­tem is bro­ken and has been ma­nip­u­lated by for­eign na­tion­als to par­tic­i­pate in the thriv­ing U.S. econ­omy. Im­mi­grant ad­vo­cates pre­vi­ously sued Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion in Oc­to­ber claim­ing the gov­ern­ment has in­ter­nally re­stricted the num­ber of asy­lum seek­ers who can be pro­cessed daily.

Many of those seek­ing refuge in the U.S. “can­not rea­son­ably present at a port of en­try and in­stead must en­ter else­where along the south­ern bor­der,” the ACLU said in Fri­day’s com­plaint. Among the rea­sons: a lack of knowl­edge that of­fi­cials ports of en­try ex­ist; an in­creased rate of “ar­bi­trary de­nial” at the ports of en­try; and life-threat­en­ing de­lays at these en­try gates, ac­cord­ing to the fil­ing.

Trump made im­mi­gra­tion a key is­sue in Tues­day’s elec­tions, stok­ing fear among his sup­port­ers about a mi­grant “car­a­van” that’s still hun­dreds of miles away in Mex­ico.

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