The Biden administration’s new asylum ban is being challenged in court by the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Northern California, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, and the National Immigrant Justice Center.
After the new policy was announced, the challenge was submitted right away. The “entry” and “transit” bans, which were stopped by the courts, are measures that the ban essentially imitates. Except for those who are able to obtain a rare appointment to present themselves at a border port through a flawed mobile application; the rare person who first applied for and was denied asylum in another country; or those who can demonstrate that they qualify for one of a few other extremely narrow exceptions, it forbids asylum for anyone at the border who transited through another country en route to the United States (i.e., people from countries other than Mexico).
“The Biden administration’s new ban places vulnerable asylum seekers in grave danger and violates U.S. asylum laws. We’ve been down this road before with Trump,” said Katrina Eiland, managing attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. “The asylum bans were cruel and illegal then, and nothing has changed now.”
According to the petition, asylum regulations do not permit the administration to impose restrictions on admission to asylum based on an applicant’s mode of arrival or whether they previously filed for asylum. It goes on to say that migrants are unable to legitimately request asylum in transit nations as a result of a lack of functioning asylum systems, overburdened systems in others, and a general lack of safety for those seeking asylum. In rejecting the prior asylum bans that the new regulation attempts to combine and reimpose, American courts have recognized these principles.
“People fleeing persecution have a legal right to seek asylum, no matter how they reach the border,” said Melissa Crow, director of litigation at the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS). “Our asylum system was designed to protect people fleeing imminent threats to their lives, who do not have the luxury of waiting for an elusive appointment or for an application to be adjudicated in a country where they are in danger. The Biden administration has had over two years to set up a fair and humane asylum process post-Title 42. That it has instead chosen to resurrect and repackage illegal Trump-era policies is reprehensible.”
The case also lists a number of problems with mandating that people use the problematic CBP One mobile app to book an appointment to request asylum, including a lack of funding for a smartphone, insufficient internet access to use the app, technical difficulties, language and literacy barriers, and a dearth of open appointments. Numerous asylum seekers may be left stranded in dangerous and life-threatening situations in Mexico for an extended period of time as a result of these numerous, compounding impediments to CBP One access.
“This unlawful rule relies on a mobile app that functions poorly, is available in just three languages, and requires people to enter a lottery for a woefully insufficient number of appointments,” said Keren Zwick, director of litigation at the National Immigrant Justice Center. “Even more egregious, the rule perpetuates false notions that people fleeing persecution are safe in Mexico and Central America, and it offers purported solutions that will be routinely unavailable, especially to migrants who are not from the Western Hemisphere. In doing so, the rule levies special harm on some of the most vulnerable migrants, including women, LGBTQ people, and Black and Indigenous people.”
The East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, American Gateways, and other parties challenged the restriction in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The Tahirih Justice Center, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Central American Resource Center, and Immigrant Defenders Law Center.
This article, under no circumstances, acts as legal advice; therefore, for any immigration questions, please contact your Attorney or the Ahluwalia Law Offices, P.C. (Team ALO).