Groups Sue U.S. Government for Turning Away Asylum Seekers


Men, women, and children fleeing persecution, grave violence, and even death arrive daily at Ports of Entry (POE) all along the U.S.-Mexico border and present themselves to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers to seek asylum in the United States.

The right to seek asylum is guaranteed under both U.S. and international law, yet CBP officers regularly turn away these vulnerable individuals and force them to return to Mexico without allowing them access to the U.S. asylum process.

CBP officers engage in a systematic and unlawful practice that denies asylum seekers access to the well-established asylum process and thereby turns incredibly vulnerable individuals back to face threats, violence, and death. This practice relies on certain categories of tactics: misrepresentations, threats and intimidation, verbal and physical abuse, and coercion.

In order to challenge CBP’s unlawful practice, a lawsuit has been filed that charges that the government violated individuals’ rights to seek asylum, their due process rights under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and violated the United States’ obligations under international law.

This lawsuit was filed by the American Immigration Council, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and Latham & Watkins, LLP, on behalf of the Los Angeles and Tijuana-based organization Al Otro Lado and six individual asylum seekers. The lawsuit seeks to prevent CBP officers from using the tactics described above, or any others, to prevent asylum seekers from accessing the asylum process at POEs along the U.S.-Mexico border.

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