Amicus Briefs Filed in Support of Challenge to Trump Administration Policy That Denies Asylum Seekers Safety & Legal Rights

Written by Tess Hellgren — Published on November 23, 2020

Media Contact Information

Alex Mensing, Communications Strategist
alexm@innovationlawlab.org
(619) 432-6378

Amicus Briefs Filed in Support of Challenge to Trump Administration Policy That Denies Asylum Seekers Safety & Legal Rights

Urge Court to Grant Plaintiffs’ Preliminary Injunction Motion

Washington, D.C. – Amnesty International USA, the Association of Pro Bono Counsel, Refugees International, and a group of immigration law professors have filed amicus briefs in a case challenging the so-called Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy, which has forced over 60,000 asylum seekers into precarious, life-threatening situations in Mexico and deprived them of access to legal assistance and other tools needed to meaningfully present their asylum claims.

Some of the amicus briefs, which were filed in support of the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction, include first-hand accounts of how this policy has made it nearly impossible for asylum seekers to obtain legal assistance. Other amicus briefs provide a historical perspective on the Refugee Act, which was intended to ensure uniform treatment of asylum seekers regardless of the place where they apply for asylum and explain why individuals subject to the Remain in Mexico policy are in DHS custody.

“MPP dispenses with critical safeguards meant to ensure that asylum-seekers are not returned to danger; results in the transfer of asylum-seekers to Mexico, a country where they face a real risk of serious harm; and exposes asylum-seekers to ‘chain’ refoulement,” reads the brief filed by Amnesty International USA. As a result, “MPP violates the United States’ domestic and international human rights commitments and should be enjoined.”

Last month immigration advocates filed Immigrant Defenders Law Center, et al. v. Wolf, et al., which challenges the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy. The lawsuit seeks to block the continued implementation of the policy, facilitate the return of individual asylum-seeking plaintiffs so they can pursue their claims from inside the United States, and allow legal service groups to continue their work on behalf of asylum seekers.

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of organizational plaintiffs, Jewish Family Service of San Diego and Immigrant Defenders Law Center, and eight individual asylum-seeking plaintiffs. They are represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Innovation Law Lab, and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, with pro bono partner Arnold & Porter LLP.

Copies of the briefs can be found HERE.

# # #

Jewish Family Service of San Diego (JFS) was founded in 1918 and since then has remained committed to the ever-changing needs of immigrants coming to our community and to the San Diego-Tijuana border. JFS works to ensure that vulnerable individuals receive the benefits and legal protections United States law affords, including the right to counsel. Through integrated services, such as legal assistance and asylum seeker transition services, JFS empowers people of all ages, faiths, and backgrounds to overcome challenges, set goals, and build more stable, secure, and connected lives. To get help, volunteer or support JFS, visit www.jfssd.org

Immigrant Defenders Law Center (ImmDef) is a next-generation 501(c)3 social justice law firm that defends our immigrant communities against injustices in the immigration court system. We believe that the right to counsel in deportation proceedings is a necessary step towards ensuring due process for all. Our model of universal representation is built on this principle. It is our long-term goal to ensure that no immigrant is forced to go to court alone. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is a catalyst for racial justice in the South and beyond, working in partnership with communities to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements, and advance the human rights of all people. In collaboration with affected communities, SPLC’s Immigrant Justice Project (IJP) undertakes advocacy and impact litigation to reduce the number of immigrants detained in the South, promote the rights of immigrant workers, and ensure fair and humane migration. IJP also works in coordination with the SPLC’s Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative, which provides pro bono legal representation to individuals in ICE custody across the Deep South.  For more information, visit www.splcenter.org.

 The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG) is a national non-profit membership organization of lawyers, law students, legal workers, advocates, and jailhouse lawyers working to defend and extend the rights of all noncitizens in the United States, regardless of immigration status. We pursue all forms of legal advocacy on behalf of immigrants and provide technical assistance and support to legal practitioners, community-based immigrant organizations, and advocates seeking and working to advance the rights of noncitizens. Learn more at nipnlg.org. Follow NIPNLG on social media: National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild on Facebook, @NIPNLG on Twitter.

Innovation Law Lab, based in Portland, Oregon with projects around the United States, is a nonprofit organization that harnesses technology, lawyers and activists to advance immigrant and refugee justice. For more information, see www.innovationlawlab.org and follow us on social media: Innovation Law Lab on Facebook and @ThinkLawLab on Twitter.

About Arnold & Porter: With nearly 1,000 lawyers practicing in 14 offices around the globe, Arnold & Porter serves clients across 40 distinct practice areas.  The firm offers 100 years of renowned regulatory expertise, sophisticated litigation and transactional practices, and leading multidisciplinary offerings in the life sciences and financial services industries. For more information, visit www.arnoldporter.com.

Support Our Work

As a nonprofit organization, Innovation Law Lab relies on generous contributions from supporters like you to continue our important work of upholding the rights of immigrants and refugees. Stand with immigrants and refugees making a contribution today