Mexico and three Central American countries have filed a protest with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights regarding President Donald Trump’s new asylum policy announced earlier this month.
The Nov. 7 executive order requires migrants who are seeking asylum to present themselves lawfully at a point of entry.
Trump invoked the same authority granted to him under the Immigration and Nationality Act that he utilized in issuing his 2017 travel ban, which was ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court.
The Mexican newspaper El Universal reported Monday that the ombudsmen for Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala filed a complaint with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, objecting to Trump’s proclamation.
The complaint calls on the ICHR to intercede with the United States government, urging it to refrain from “collective expulsions” and guarantee “the right to request and receive asylum” for those participating in the migrant caravan, made up primarily of people from the four countries.
The Washington Times reported that Homeland Security officials believe there are as many as 10,500 migrants camped along the U.S.-Mexico border seeking entry into the U.S.
“American officials say the vast majority lack legitimate asylum claims and are, instead, hoping to exploit lax U.S. policies that allow them to make their claims, then disappear into the shadows even if they aren’t worthy,” according to The Times.
Late Monday night, U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar of San Francisco barred the Trump administration from refusing asylum for those who cross the U.S. border illegally, the Associated Press reported.
“Whatever the scope of the President’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” wrote the judge, who was appointed by then-President Barack Obama in 2013.
Tigar reasoned that the “failure to comply with entry requirements such as arriving at a designated port of entry should bear little, if any, weight in the asylum process.”
The judge noted the applicable federal statute reads that those seeking asylum if they have entered the U.S. may do so “whether or not at a designated port of arrival.”
Baher Azmy, a lawyer for the Center for Constitutional Rights, which sued the Trump administration alongside the American Civil Liberties Union, argued the law “couldn’t be clearer.”
“Individuals are entitled to asylum if they cross between ports of entry,” he said.
ACLU lawyer Lee Gelernt added, “We don’t condone people entering between ports of entry, but Congress has made the decision that if they do, they still need to be allowed to apply for asylum.”
The Trump administration vowed to fight Tigar’s ruling, alluding to successfully litigating its travel ban executive order earlier this year, The Washington Post reported.
“As the Supreme Court affirmed this summer, Congress has given the President broad authority to limit or even stop the entry of aliens into this country,” the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security said in a joint statement that called the lawsuit “absurd.”
The statement added: “We look forward to continuing to defend the Executive Branch’s legitimate and well-reasoned exercise of its authority to address the crisis at our southern border.”
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