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Judge to Trump: You Can't Deny Asylum at Border

'Individuals are entitled to asylum if they cross between ports of entry,' lawyer says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 20, 2018 4:12 AM CST
Central American migrants sweep outside the shelter where they are staying in Tijuana, Mexico, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018.   (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
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(Newser) – A federal judge barred the Trump administration on Monday from refusing asylum to immigrants who cross the southern border illegally. US District Judge Jon S. Tigar issued a temporary restraining order after hearing arguments in San Francisco, the AP reports. The request was made by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights, which quickly sued after President Trump issued the ban this month in response to the caravans of migrants that have started to arrive at the US-Mexico border. Trump issued a proclamation Nov. 9 that said anyone who crossed the southern border illegally would be ineligible for asylum. The Department of Homeland Security estimates around 70,000 people a year claim asylum between official ports of entry.

"Individuals are entitled to asylum if they cross between ports of entry," says Baher Azmy, a lawyer for the Center for Constitutional Rights. "It couldn't be clearer." As of Monday, 107 people detained between official crossings have sought asylum since Trump's order went into effect, according to DHS. Officials didn't say whether those people's cases were still progressing through other avenues left to them after the proclamation. ACLU lawyer Lee Gelernt says that some people seeking asylum cross between official ports because "they're in real danger," either in their countries of origin or in Mexico. "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," he says. (Some of the troops Trump sent to the border will be departing this week.)

(Read more asylum stories.)

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