Constantly changing immigration procedures prevent migrants from exercising their asylum rights in a timely manner.
The U.S. government was sued Monday by 126 migrant mothers and their children who claim that President Donald Trump administration has violated their rights by implementing an asylum ban at the southern border.
"The AsylumBan was evil enough. But our government is going further: cruelly playing with the lives of women and children asylum seekers by implementing the ban unlawfully to make sure NO ONE gets a chance to even seek asylum," Hassan Ahmad, the lawsuit main attorney, tweeted.
Filed at the U.S. Court for the District of Columbia, this lawsuit is the first to challenge Trump's policies since the Supreme Court decided on Sep. 11 that an anti-asylum rule will be allowed to take effect while a separate lawsuit on its legality is underway.
Unlike other suits, the latest filing challenges the U.S. government on procedural grounds, saying authorities have enacted changes without due warning, which resulted in elevated rejection rates for asylum-seekers.
Stated more specifically, the 126-families lawsuit holds that, with President Trump rolling out a series of immigration regulations in rapid succession, asylum-seekers are not being told which of the shifting standards will apply to their cases.
"What we are challenging is the haphazard lack of legal procedure. There's no rhyme or reason to it," attorney Ahmad said on behalf of Central American women and children who were rejected in the asylum process' early stages while staying at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas.
Fatima, a mother held in @CBP custody with her four-year-old daughter, describes the neglect she witnessed when she was in detention. We join the call for an immediate investigation into the government’s systematic failures. https://t.co/fCtkjuvBSv #HarmInCBPCustody pic.twitter.com/FyZ57yrubQ— Families Belong Together (@fams2gether) September 17, 2019
Trump's Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program has forced thousands of asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for U.S. court dates, swamping the dockets and leading to delays and confusion as judges struggle to handle the influx of new cases.
According to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP), at least 42,000 migrants had been sent to wait in Mexico through early September to wait for their applications to be processed.
The surge in migrants at the Southern border have put a strain on facilities in the United States, a country which only has courts to properly process these procedures in San Diego and El Paso.
In order to clear a backlog of asylum seekers, however, the U.S. has just set up "Tent Courts" in Laredo and Brownsville, Texas.