ACLU sues White House to halt asylum restrictions
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.