April 8, 2019. Today, federal district judge Richard Seeborg granted our request for a nationwide preliminary injunction in Innovation Law Lab v. Nielsen, a case challenging implementation of the so-called “Migrant Protection Protocols.”  This new policy forcibly returned certain asylum seekers to Mexico where their lives are in danger.  Under Judge Seeborg’s order, which goes into effect on April 12, 2019 at 5 PM PST, the Trump administration is enjoined from continuing to implement or expand the Migrant Protection Protocols, and also must allow the eleven named plaintiffs to return to the United States to continue their asylum cases.

“We are grateful that the court has ended the forcible return policy because it was illegal, inhumane, and, most importantly, put people’s lives in  danger” said Stephen W Manning, the Director at Innovation Law Lab. The decision also finds that the Migrant Protection Protocols do not satisfy the United States’ obligations to avoid returning asylum seekers to a country where their life or freedom would be threatened on account of a protected ground.

Program Director Ian Philabaum has been working directly with asylum seekers subject to the program since January 2019.  “Over one thousand people have been returned to Mexico under the program since its ill-fated beginning,” he commented. “We remain committed to seeking justice for every person who has been endangered by their unlawful return, and continuing our fight against the broad damage the Trump administration is inflicting on asylum seekers and the rule of the law in the US.”

Plaintiffs in the suit include Innovation Law Lab, Central American Resource Center of Northern California, Centro Legal de la Raza, Immigration and Deportation Defense Clinic at the University of San Francisco School of Law, Al Otro Lado, Tahirih Justice Center, and 11 asylum seekers affected by the policy in question. Legal counsel is provided by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies (CGRS).

For media inquiries about the suit, contact:

Inga Sarda-Sorensen, ACLU, 212-284-7347, isarda-sorensen@aclu.org

Jen Fuson, SPLC, 202-834-6209, jen.fuson@splcenter.org

Brianna Krong, CGRS, 415-581-8835, krongbrianna@uchastings.edu

For inquiries about Innovation Law Lab, contact:

Ramon Valdez, (971) 238-1804, ramon@innovationlawlab.org