Spurned Asylum Seekers Gain Foothold in Court Fight With Trump
(Bloomberg) -- The Trump administration must face a lawsuit by immigrants from Central America who claim U.S. border agents used threats and intimidation to deny them the opportunity to apply for asylum.
A federal judge in San Diego on Monday largely denied the government’s request to dismiss the lawsuit. The case precedes the administration’s rule that immigrants from Central American countries must apply for protection from torture and prosecution in a country they travel through before they are eligible to apply at the U.S. border.
The immigrants who sued in 2017 allege that U.S. border agents denied them access to the asylum process through misrepresentations and scare tactics as part of a “turnback policy" at the U.S.-Mexican border. Some allege they were stopped halfway across an international bridge between the U.S. and Mexico and told to go back. Government lawyers claim there is no such policy.
"Turning back prospective asylum applicants pursuant to an alleged executive policy that seeks to deter asylum seekers through false assertions of lack of capacity is plausibly inconsistent with and violative of the scheme Congress enacted," U.S. District Judge Cynthia Bashant said in an order.
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.