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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Asylum-seekers are being turned away at the US border

Reports have surfaced that asylum-seeking families, adults and unaccompanied minors are being systematically turned away by agents along the U.S.-Mexico border.

In response, the American Immigration Council and several partner organizations — the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, Inc., Kino Border Initiative, Women’s Refugee Commission, Public Counsel, and Latin America Working Group — have filed an administrative complaint with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) and Office of Inspector General (OIG).

The complaint urges the immediate investigation of these allegations of widespread misconduct. The U.S. government is obligated by U.S. and international law to allow noncitizens presenting themselves at U.S. borders and ports of entry to apply for asylum and other forms of humanitarian protection.

It is unconscionable that individuals fleeing from dangerous conditions are being turned away without the proper process that they deserve.

Read the AP's coverage of this story

Friday, January 13, 2017

Nationwide Class Action Status for Case Seeking to Protect Rights of Asylum Seekers

On January 10, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington certified the nationwide class in Mendez-Rojas v. Johnson, No. 2:16-cv-01024-RSM (W.D. Wash), making thousands of asylum seekers class members in the case.

This lawsuit challenges the government’s failure to provide plaintiffs with adequate notice of the one-year filing deadline for asylum applications, and seeks to establish a uniform mechanism which will ensure the opportunity for asylum applications to be filed.

Any remedy ordered by the Court will apply throughout the country, ensuring that all asylum seekers have a fair opportunity to pursue their applications.

The suit was filed in June 2016 by the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), Dobrin & Han, PC, the American Immigration Council, and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG),

“The government should not defend a system in which asylum applications are thwarted by unknown deadlines and deficient procedures,” said Trina Realmuto, litigation director for NIPNLG.  “We hope the Court’s ruling is a precursor to remedying this injustice.”

Read more at The American Immigration Council

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