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Tijuana Border, Mexico

We’re Suing to Stop the Trump Administration’s New Immoral and Illegal Asylum Policy

In response to the Trump administration’s ploy to manufacture a humanitarian crisis on our border, RAICES has joined with others to sue the administration’s new policy to deny people from applying for asylum at the border.

We’ve joined with the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition and Hogan Lovell, a law firm to state unequivocally that the newest asylum policy is immoral, illegal, and harmful to those seeking safety in the United States.

The administration’s proclamation seeks to deny asylum to those who present themselves outside of designated ports of entry, like San Ysidro in San Diego or Nogales in Arizona. This is a direct violation of domestic law, which prevents discrimination against asylum-seekers based on how they entered the country, and an assault on long-standing principles of international law that require the United States welcome those fleeing violence and persecution when they arrive in our country.

It’s also a cynical move by an administration that has intentionally clogged the asylum lines at designated ports of entry. The administration has overseen a process of “metering” those who are allowed to seek asylum every day, allowing only a few dozen to begin the process at any port and keeping thousands of people who have legitimate asylum cases waiting in Mexico.

This is a dangerous situation. RAICES has been with the migrant caravan since Mexico City, when we purchased bus tickets for the LGBTQ+ contingent called “La Comunidad” and brought them to Tijuana to begin the asylum process. There, we ensured the group had adequate housing and legal services and could begin seeking asylum in relative comfort. We’re now housing over 100 refugees in Tijuana thanks to donor support.

Our lawyer on the ground, Cristian Sanchez, emphasized that without the shelter and safety we provided, beginning the asylum process would have been all but impossible. “All the waiting they have to go through to present themselves for asylum would be unbearable, impossible, or dangerous to do without housing and access to services that this project provides,” he said.

The new asylum rules the Trump administration have enacted are deliberately created to exacerbate this humanitarian crisis. Most migrants are not receiving the level of care we can provide to the LGBTQ group. Thousands are living in tents and on sidewalks in Tijuana, with limited access to clean water and toilets. Many have faced racism and abuse from Mexican nationalists who want them gone. Every day that passes, the asylum list grows longer, those stuck in TIjuana grow more frustrated, and tensions in the city increase.

We hope our lawsuit will help ease tensions by allowing refugees to seek asylum whenever and wherever they enter the United States, as required by domestic law.

This summer, the administration ripped families apart and locked children up for indefinite periods. We fought that, like we’ve been fighting for thirty years. This latest assault on the rights of those fleeing violence doesn’t surprise us, nor does it stop us: We vow to work both in the courtroom, and in the streets to advance and protect migrants and asylum seekers who come to this country seeking safety.

Please join us.


Photo: Jorge Rivas for RAICES