Groups File Lawsuit Against Trump Policy Forcibly Returning Asylum Seekers to Mexico

San Francisco, CA (February 14, 2019) –- The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), and Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS) filed a federal lawsuit today challenging the Trump administration’s new policy forcing asylum seekers to return to Mexico and remain there while their cases are considered.

“The Trump administration is forcibly returning asylum seekers to danger in Mexico,” said Judy Rabinovitz, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.“Once again, the administration is breaking the law in order to deter asylum seekers from seeking safety in the United States.”

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 11 individual asylum seekers forcibly returned to Mexico, and organizational plaintiffs Innovation Law Lab, the Central American Resource Center of Northern California, Centro Legal de la Raza, the University of San Francisco School of Law Immigration and Deportation Defense Clinic, Al Otro Lado, and the Tahirih Justice Center.

“This is no longer just a war on asylum seekers, it’s a war on our system of laws,” said Melissa Crow, Southern Poverty Law Center senior supervising attorney. “This misguided policy deprives vulnerable individuals of humanitarian protections that have been on the books for decades and puts their lives in jeopardy.”The lawsuit cites violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Administrative Procedures Act, as well as the United States’ duty under international human rights law not to return people to dangerous conditions.

“This new policy severely undermines the very purpose of our asylum system, endangering rather than safeguarding the lives of our individual plaintiffs and others fleeing persecution,” said Blaine Bookey, co-legal director of the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies.

The case, Innovation Law Lab v. Nielsen, was filed in federal court in San Francisco.

 

BY MELANIE NATHAN

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