Groups sue Trump over order blocking asylum claims

Civil rights groups are suing the Trump administration over its order blocking certain immigrants from claiming asylum.

In a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Friday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Southern Poverty Law Center and Center for Constitutional Rights allege that the Trump administration is violating immigration law as well as the federal statute that governs the way administrative agencies can issue rules.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpAvenatti ‘still considering’ presidential run despite domestic violence arrest Mulvaney positioning himself to be Commerce Secretary: report Kasich: Wouldn’t want presidential run to ‘diminish my voice’ MORE’s new asylum ban is illegal,” Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in a statement.

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“Neither the president nor his cabinet secretaries can override the clear commands of U.S. law, but that’s exactly what they’re trying to do," he said. "This action undermines the rule of law and is a great moral failure because it tries to take away protections from individuals facing persecution — it’s the opposite of what America should stand for.”

Trump on Friday signed a proclamation blocking certain immigrants from claiming asylum.

The proclamation enacted a new rule the administration rolled out on Thursday aimed at limiting asylum claims to migrants who enter the country through legal ports of entry.

“We want people to come into our country, but they have to come into the country legally,” Trump told reporters at the White House before leaving for a trip to Paris.

In the 18-page filing, the civil rights groups say the administration’s rule and proclamation “are in direct violation of Congress’s clear command that manner of entry cannot constitute a categorical asylum bar.” 

“Consistent with its international obligations, Congress was specific and clear: Entering without inspection is not a basis to categorically deny asylum to refugees," they said.

The groups argue that the Immigration and Nationality Act affords immigrants the right to apply for asylum whether they enter the country through a legal port or not.  

They also argue the government promulgated the rule without following the proper procedural steps and without good cause, which are required by the Administrative Procedure Act.

The groups have asked the federal court to order the rule unlawful and issue a preliminary and permanent injunction to keep the administration from implementing or enforcing it.