The Resistance (to Trump) Goes to Court

Press Releases

November 19, 2018

IRLI moves to protect new asylum rule

WASHINGTON—On Saturday, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a federal lawsuit brought by open-borders activist groups challenging President Trump’s chosen method for dealing with the “caravan” of would-be illegal aliens from Central America now arriving at our southern border. In its brief, IRLI argues that these activist groups lack standing to sue.

Faced with that “caravan,” the Trump Administration has made those who cross the southern border, except at a designated port of entry, ineligible for asylum. Until the present change, border crossers caught by the border patrol and claiming asylum have been routinely released into the United States with court dates, months or years in the future, for asylum proceedings most do not even show up for. For hundreds of thousands of Central Americans, claiming asylum has been used as a free pass to live illegally in places such as New York City and Maryland.

Since the change, however, border crossers caught by the border patrol are being returned quickly to Mexico, despite claiming asylum. Not liking this result, a group of non-profit open-borders groups has brought suit to block the new rule, asking the court to issue a temporary restraining order against it. The groups claim that the rule violates the asylum statute – even though that statute, in clear language, authorizes the administration to limit eligibility for asylum.

These U.S. nonprofits, led by the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, are suing on their own behalf, not on behalf of any alien. The groups claim that the new rule will disrupt their operations, and that this threat of disruption gives them standing to challenge the rule in court. But IRLI shows in its brief that because the asylum statute was not written to protect the interests of nonprofits, they should not be allowed to “enforce” that statute in court.

“Once again, open-borders groups are rushing to court to stop Trump from bringing even a semblance of sanity back to our immigration system,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “The problem is, this time they forgot to bring any clients. That lack is fatal. The world doesn’t revolve around these groups, and Congress didn’t draft the asylum law with them in mind. We’re hoping even an activist judge will see that,” Wilcox added, “but if not, we won’t stop fighting this case, in as high a court as necessary.”

The case is East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Trump, No. 3:18-cv-6810 (N. D. Cal.).

For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • [email protected]

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