ACLU, Pro-Immigrant Groups Sue Biden to Stop His New Asylum Rule's Implementation

Groups say new Biden policy violates Immigration & Procedural Laws governing executive-branch actions

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Texas Insider Report) — “While Congress has placed some limitations on the right to seek asylum over the years, it has never permitted the Executive Branch to categorically ban asylum based on where a non-citizen enters the country,” said a number of Immigrant Rights Groups – led by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) – as they filed a lawsuit Wednesday to halt President Joe Biden’s new border Executive Order that is intended to limit illegal immigrants’ ability to lodge asylum claims from being implemented.
“The law is flatly illegal, period,” said Lee Gelernt, an ACLU attorney who is lead counsel in the lawsuit.

Moments after the measure was announced last week, the ACLU warned it would sue the administration. 

The American Civil Liberties Union, National Immigrant Justice Center, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, Jenner & Block LLP, ACLU of the District of Columbia, and Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP) filed the federal lawsuit on behalf of Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center (Las Americas) and the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES).

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., challenges a new regulation issued by the Justice and Homeland Security Departments as part of Mr. Biden’s election-season attempt to address the Biden Border Crisis and give the president some defense against what are sure to be unending attacks by former President Donald Trump, and others, about Biden's border policy.

While Biden’s new plan has numerous looploles, and in reality applies to only a smal number of illegal immigrants coming across the Southern Border, the groups said migrants have a right to apply for asylum under U.S. law – and that Mr. Biden’s new limits hinder that right, potentially stranding desperate people in Mexico.

The stated goal from the Biden White House is to shut down the bogus asylum claims process that have flooded the system, and served as a loophole that allowed millions of new illegal immigrants to settle in the U.S., while they are supposed to be waiting for hearings on their claims. Historically, few actually win their cases. But they end up remaining in the U.S. for years or decades afterwards, which was the goal.
  Mr. Biden waited more than three years into his term before announcing his get-tough approach. Under the new policy, migrants will be held to a higher standard for whether they clear the initial asylum check at the border.

In the past they had to merely express a “fear” of returning home. Now they must express some form of “manifest” for that fear.

The ACLU and other challengers said that’s a tough bar for a distraught immigrant to meet. The complaint doesn’t seek emergency relief at this point.
“In practice, noncitizens who have just crossed the border – and may be hungry, exhausted, ill or traumatized after fleeing their home countries – are likely to be intimidated by armed, uniformed Border Patrol Officers,” the groups said.

As a result, they are unlikely to ‘manifest’ their fear of return, said the organizations.


Senior administration officials anticipated, when previewing the executive action last week, that there’d be legal challenges.

“I respectfully disagree with the ACLU,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told ABC’s Martha Raddatz Sunday.

“I anticipate they will sue us. We stand by the legality of what we have done.”

Mr. Biden’s policy has also taken fire from the right – where Republicans say his moves are too little, too late.