Politics & Policy

Migrants Sue Trump for Vowing to Shut Down Regular Asylum Process

Central American migrants walk along a highway near the border with Guatemala in Tapachula, Mexico, October 21, 2018. (Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters)

A group of migrants traveling to the U.S. from central America have filed a lawsuit alleging that President Trump has violated their due process rights under the fifth amendment.

The suit, which also names the Department of Homeland Security as a defendant, cites late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s 1993 ruling, in which he claimed “it is well established that the Fifth Amendment entitles aliens to due process of law in a deportation proceeding.”

Twelve Honduran nationals are named as plaintiffs in the suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

The plaintiffs specifically allege that Trump’s promise to stop the caravan of migrants currently traveling toward the southern border using the military violates the due process rights of legitimate asylum-seekers fleeing the “well-documented human rights crisis” unfolding in Honduras and El Salvador.

Speaking at the White House Thursday, Trump vowed to stop the “crisis at our southern border” by deploying troops and requiring that asylum seekers “lawfully present themselves” at ports of entry. But U.S. troops cannot enter Mexico and, as the lawsuit points out, once an asylum seeker reaches the border and requests asylum, the law requires that they must be given a “credible fear” interview to determine whether their claim is legitimate.

Nexus Services is financing the lawsuit through their civil rights branch, Nexus Derechos Humanos (Human Rights) Attorneys Inc.

“Federal law enables migrants to apply for asylum in the United States. President Trump and his administration have used ‘increased enforcement,’ like separating families and lengthening detention to violate migrant rights,” Mike Donovan, president of Nexus Services, said in the release.

The suit also questions whether the federal government can legally house migrants in tent cities on the border, as President Trump promised to do during a recent interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham. The plaintiffs argue that such conditions might violate the 1997 Flores Consent Decree, which outlined the conditions asylum seekers can be held in and prohibited the detention of minors for more than 20 days.


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