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Our response to the Presidential Proclamation on New Asylum Rules

We read the President’s Proclamation that places severe restrictions on individuals seeking asylum at the southern border of the United States with great dread. This effectively shuts down asylum as a pathway to immigration for many immigrants. The decision is yet another in a long line of egregious attacks on vulnerable communities and another example of the President drumming up fear, and dividing our nation unnecessarily.

In the past two years we have witnessed atrocious human rights violations committed by this administration under the guise of tough immigration policies. We fought the Muslim ban, we stood up against the consistent and targeted attacks on DACA, we responded to families being ripped apart, and today’s announcement, effectively a Latino ban, joins this long list of attacks.

The ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, and Center for Constitutional Rights already filed a lawsuit against this proclamation and we, alongside with our allies, will continue to fight like hell.

We provide legal services to hundreds of clients a week. Many of them are not able to enter the country at designated ports of entry for reasons that include the imminent threat of further harm as they wait days or even weeks to be allowed to apply for protection. Today’s decision will have detrimental impacts on hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people. This further compounds an already strenuous process our clients go through consistently, even when they arrive at a port of entry and are told by the CBP that: “The border is closed”.

For over 60 years the United States has joined other nations in giving asylum seekers the opportunity to seek safe haven. It is a sacrosanct principle of both U.S. and international law, and under no circumstances can it be taken away at the whims of a President who has shown no respect for the rule of law.

“History will be unkind to the Trump administration,” said Jonathan Ryan, executive director of RAICES, “and today’s proclamation will be remembered as a key moment in his broadside attack on vulnerable people and American ideals. This far in, we already know what Donald Trump’s legacy will be. The important question at this very moment is, what will be the legacy of the American people who stood by and did nothing? At RAICES, we choose to fight.