Groups sue over asylum
Plan denies protection to migrants who cross Mexico border illegally
WASHINGTON — Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union and other immigrant advocacy groups filed suit Friday in the Northern District of California to block the Trump administration’s plan to deny asylum protections to migrants who cross the Mexico border illegally.
The suit accuses the administration of attempting to violate the Immigration and Nationality Act and the Administrative Procedure Act, alleging that Trump administration officials have improperly rushed to implement the new restrictions while also asserting executive powers that lie beyond the scope of what the Supreme Court upheld in its “travel ban” decision this year.
The suit came hours after President Donald Trump issued a decree Friday morning that set in motion his administration’s effort to close off asylum benefits for those who enter the United States illegally. The measures are to take effect Saturday.
“The asylum ban is not justified by events on the ground, puts lives in danger and is patently unlawful,” said Lee Gelernt, an ACLU attorney. “The administration is flagrantly ignoring a federal statute and bypassing the most basic procedural requirements governing the issuance of new laws.”
Administration officials have anticipated the lawsuits, and the possibility that lower courts will side with the plaintiffs. The administration has suffered repeated defeats in district courts in California, but administration officials view the rulings as necessary hurdles to reach the Supreme Court, which by a 54 vote in June upheld a revised version of the travel ban, which sought to block foreigners from several Muslimmajority nations from entering the United States.
Under the new measures, announced by administration officials Thursday, Trump seeks to exercise the same emergency authority invoked during his travel ban of early 2017 to bar anyone crossing the Mexico border illegally from qualifying for asylum.
In his proclamation, Trump said the measures were necessary to prepare for the arrival of thousands of Central Americans traveling in groups through Mexico toward the U.S. border with what he said was no apparent “lawful basis for admission into our country.”