Texas residents may be aware that the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights have filed a lawsuit challenging President Trump’s recent proclamation that denies asylum to immigrants who cross into the United States illegally from Mexico. Arguments made by the civil rights groups were apparently persuasive because a federal judge in California issued a temporary restraining order on November 19 that bars enforcement of the controversial policy.
President Trump issued the proclamation on November 9 to deter immigrants traveling in caravans from Central America from entering the United States illegally. Many of the immigrants in these caravans say that they are fleeing desperate poverty and widespread violence in their home countries and plan to petition for asylum once they reach the U.S. border. However, the waiting times for asylum claims at popular ports of entry, like the San Ysidro crossing near San Diego, are currently several weeks long. Government figures suggest that many undocumented immigrants are seeking to avoid them by crossing the border illegally.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, about 3,000 immigrants who were part of the first caravan to arrive are currently gathered in Tijuana, and 107 of them have crossed the border to claim asylum since Trump issued his proclamation. About 70,000 immigrants claim asylum in the United States each year. The federal judge hearing the case says that he issued the restraining order because the presidential proclamation runs contrary to clear instructions from Congress.
Attorneys with immigration law experience could help undocumented workers who are already inside the United States to claim asylum, but they may encourage them to act quickly as they only have one year to submit their paperwork. Lawyers could also petition for asylum on behalf of immigrants who have been detained by the authorities and face deportation.
Source: CNBC, US judge bars Trump administration from enforcing asylum ban, Associated Press report, November 19, 2018