New York AG fights Trump's attempt to bar Caribbean asylum seekers from US

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New York AG fights Trump's attempt to bar Caribbean asylum seekers from US

Thursday, February 13, 2020

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NEW YORK, United States (CMC) — New York Attorney General Letitia James, as part of a coalition of 21 attorneys general, on Wednesday fought back against a new Trump administration rule that will bar tens of thousands of people from the Caribbean and other places from asylum if they did not apply in a third country while en route to the United States.

In an amicus brief – Al Otro Lada et al v Wolf – filed in support of the plaintiffs , James and the coalition argue in support of asylum seekers who have already been trapped at the border for months due to what they call “other unlawful policies of the Trump administration”.

The coalition urges the court to uphold a preliminary injunction issued by a lower court that already ruled in favour of the asylum seekers and asserts that the Trump administration is harming Caribbean and other communities by imposing “dangerous and arbitrary asylum requirements on people fleeing violence and persecution”.

“The Trump administration's efforts to repeatedly increase the requirements for asylum seekers to seek refuge has endangered the lives of tens of thousands of individuals,” James said in a statement.

“Instead of welcoming these immigrants who risked their lives to come to this country, President Trump and his administration remain intent on imposing draconian measures that will send these immigrants back to the danger they came here to escape,” she added.

“Our coalition is fighting this policy because the abuse of immigrants should never be used as political fodder to appease the president's base.”

The lawsuit — brought by non-profit legal services provider Al Otro Lado — seeks to protect the rights of tens of thousands of individuals who have been unlawfully harmed by the Trump Administration's “arbitrary changes to the asylum process”.

The case centres on asylum seekers who sought entry to the United States prior to the administration's efforts to implement an interim final rule prohibiting these individuals from seeking asylum unless they applied for and were denied protection in at least one country they transited through prior to arrival.

Joining James in filing the amicus brief are the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

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