Before the midterm elections, President Trump spoke continuously on the group of migrants coming from Central America toward the U.S.-Mexico border. And while it may have seemed Trump had dropped after November 6, his attacks on individuals seeking asylum only disappeared from his Twitter account.
On November 8 the Trump administration issued a proclamation stating that individuals who cross the U.S.-Mexico border without inspection at an area other than a designated port of entry would no longer be eligible to apply for asylum. This proclamation is contrary to the language in the law, which states that a person who “is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States (whether or not at a designated port of arrival . . . ) may apply for asylum . . . .” This language does not mean that every person who applies for asylum is guaranteed to be granted asylee status, but those persons are at least eligible to apply. The proclamation issued by Trump takes that right away by stating that only individuals who arrive at a port of entry are eligible for asylum.
But some of those individuals who make it to a port of entry to seek asylum in the U.S. are unable to step onto U.S. soil because they are turned away by Customs and Border Protection agents. These individuals are told to wait in line and end up sleeping outside or in shelters for days before getting a chance to speak with an agent about their asylum claims.
Many organizations disagreed with Trump’s proclamation and, in finding it contrary to law, filed lawsuits. The ACLU, Center for Constitutional Rights, and the Southern Poverty Law Center sued the Trump administration in California, arguing that the proclamation bypasses rules requiring 30 days for notice and comment on changes in government regulations and that it unlawfully limits asylum seekers to ports of entry. The lawsuit also addresses individuals who are turned away at ports of entry. A second lawsuit addresses the former Attorney General’s end to asylum claims for domestic violence and gang violence.
The President and his administration continue to use fearmongering as a reason and means to limit immigrants’ rights, including individuals fleeing their native countries for the chance at a more secure life in the U.S. The individuals in the group of migrants traveling to the U.S. have given up much of their lives for just the chance at safety here, and their plight should not be met with armed forces and presidential proclamations limiting their rights.
The attorneys at Joseph & Hall P.C. will continue monitoring these lawsuits and the continued attacks on immigrants. If you have questions about your rights or options as an immigrant in the U.S., contact Joseph & Hall P.C. for a consultation.
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Effective March 25, 2020, in response to “Stay at Home” orders Joseph & Hall PC is closed to the public and is now conducting nearly all of its operations remotely during the COVID-19 health crisis through April 18th.
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