U.S. Illegally Denying Immigrants Their Right to Seek Asylum at the Mexican Border, According to Lawsuit

  • outdoorsmuscl...

    Posts: 2130

    Jan 03, 2018 5:11 PM GMT
    U.S. Illegally Denying Immigrants Their Right to Seek Asylum at the Mexican Border, According to Lawsuit

    The Trump administration may be engaged in widespread violations of U.S. and international law at the southern U.S. border, according to new filings in a California lawsuit. The filings offer the latest piece of evidence of a systematic campaign aimed at turning away asylum-seekers, actions linked to the embrace of hard-line immigration enforcement policies at the heart of the president’s rise to power.

    Immigration attorneys in the Central District of California filed a motion for class-action certification that would allow six asylum-seekers from Mexico and Honduras to stand in for individuals affected by an alleged pattern of illegal practices on the part of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The class-action suit would include all the immigrants who, since June 2016, have or will be denied their right to secure asylum in the U.S. because of the CBP practices.

    Building on a complaint filed in July, the suit argues CBP officials at numerous ports of entry, or POEs, throughout the southwest have displayed a similar set of “unlawful practices” designed to deny individuals their right under the law to apply for asylum.

    “Since at least June 2016,” the motion reads, “CBP officers at POEs along the U.S.-Mexico border have been consistently turning away — through an identifiable set of tactics including, misrepresentations about U.S. asylum law and the U.S. asylum process, threats and intimidation, verbal and physical abuse, and coercion — significant numbers of individuals who express an intent to apply for asylum or a fear of returning to their home countries.”

    There was no denying a shift in CBP practices over the last year, said Erika Pinheiro, director of policy and technology at Al Otro Lado, speaking to The Intercept from Tijuana, Mexico, where many asylum-seekers in the lawsuit have taken refuge in local shelters after being denied entry into the U.S. Al Otro Lado, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit legal services organization, first brought the legal challenge to the CBP policies.

    “There’s always been cases of individuals being turned away, but it was kind of the exception, not the rule. It really changed when Trump was elected.”

    “It was almost as if they closed the southern border to asylum-seekers when Trump was elected, not even inaugurated, just elected,” Pinheiro said. “After November, it was incredibly difficult — even escorted by an attorney, we would see people turned away by CBP.”

    Multiple U.S. statutes and governing regulations, including due process rights guaranteed under the Fifth Amendment, grant noncitizens fleeing violence abroad the right to apply for asylum in the U.S. Meanwhile, international treaties prohibit the U.S. government from returning individuals to countries where they have a well-established fear of persecution or torture. Despite these protections, the suit brought by Al Otro Lado, in conjunction with the Center for Constitutional Rights, the American Immigration Council, and the law firm Latham & Watkins LLP, offers multiple accounts of U.S. immigration officials preventing asylum-seekers from engaging in even the earliest stages of the process for asylum relief. The accounts are backed up by extensive media reports and broader human rights investigations into the alleged practices.

    Using pseudonyms out of a fear of retribution, the plaintiffs in the case — five women and one man —offered harrowing accounts of why they and their loved ones fled their home countries. They described the murder and decapitation of parents, repeated experiences of domestic and sexual violence, and unrelenting persecution by the most murderous criminal groups in the Western hemisphere. Their stories reflect a broader experience of terror that has gripped large swaths of Central America and Mexico, areas that have in recent years consistently ranked among the most violent in the world. Each of the plaintiffs detail how, upon arrival to a U.S. port of entry, they were met with hostility, intimidation, and outright lies regarding the obligations of American immigration authorities under the law.

    In their suit against the government, the immigration attorneys for the asylum-seekers identify several alleged CBP practices observed in their clients’ cases and others. Those misleading and unlawful practices are said to include CBP officials falsely telling arriving asylum-seekers that asylum is not available at that particular POE, and that they would need to try elsewhere; that they cannot apply for asylum because there is not enough space at the location; that they first need to check in with Mexican authorities before applying in the U.S.; or that the U.S. government has simply stopped granting asylum altogether. The suit also describes CBP officials using “threats and intimidation” to deter individuals from exercising their right to apply for asylum, including “threatening to separate parents from their children” and forcing asylum-seekers who have made it into a port of entry “to recant their fears or otherwise to withdraw their applications for admission to the U.S.”
    A spokesperson for CBP declined to answer questions for this article, saying the agency does not comment on pending litigation.
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    Jan 04, 2018 12:29 AM GMT
    Where was the outrage and the lawsuit when the Obama Admimistration started the practice:

    Drake said while the denials began during the Obama administration, agents appear to have been emboldened by Trump’s views on immigration, saying that in some cases Customs and Border Protection agents, overseen by the Department of Homeland Security, used statements that referenced the election or the administration.


    Look in the mirror, Liberals. It's another problem you started.