Immigrant advocacy groups seek restraining order to block Trump asylum policy

A coalition of immigrant advocacy groups is seeking a temporary restraining order to block a Trump administration policy requiring asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while their cases are pending.

In a motion filed Wednesday in the Northern District of California, the groups say the administration's policy endangers asylum seekers.

Asylum seekers, the groups allege, "are being returned to Mexico without any meaningful consideration of the dangers they face there, including the very real threat that Mexican authorities will return them to the countries they fled to escape persecution and torture."

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Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has said the policy, known as the "Migrant Protection Protocols" (MPP) program, is necessary to counter what the Trump administration has described as a humanitarian crisis at the border.

CNN reported that, as of last week, 93 people had been returned to Mexico under the policy, including 13 families. Officials began rolling out the policy last month, the outlet noted.

The immigration advocacy groups argue in the lawsuit that the policy violates both U.S. and international law. 

Attorneys representing the groups include lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Judy Rabinovitz, an attorney with the ACLU, told CNN that the policy has "got to be stopped."

"It's illegal and inhuman, and hopefully that's what the judge will do," Rabinovitz said.

Organizations challenging the policy include the Innovation Law Lab, the Central American Resource Center of Northern California, the Centro Legal de la Raza, the Immigration and Deportation Defense Clinic at the University of San Francisco School of Law, Al Otro Lado and the Tahirih Justice Center.

Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security officials did not immediately return CNN's requests for comment.