A federal judge in California is considering blocking the government’s decision to retroactively demand a “safe third country” for asylum seekers on the border with Mexico, which would affect thousands of migrants.
At a hearing Tuesday, Judge Cynthia Bashant, of the Federal District Court in San Diego, heard arguments from pro-immigration organizations about how retroactivity would affect thousands of asylum seekers.
Faced with the immigration crisis mainly involving Central Americans, the Trump administration announced on July 15 a regulation that will prevent granting asylum to those who do not apply before in a “safe third country.
The measure, which came into effect on July 16, could be applied to immigrants who entered the United States before that date, which caused the organizations Al Otro Lado, Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Center for Constitutional Rights, and American Immigration Council, to file a legal action in favor of the thousands of affected.
SPLC attorney Rebecca Casa told Efe that Bashant favored allegations that the retroactivity of the rule is unfair.
“This would affect a large number of immigrants who have already entered the United States, or who are even waiting on a list to be served by immigration authorities at the border,” Casa explained.
The petition to block this measure is part of a class action lawsuit filed by Al Otro Lado, which challenges the White House’s policy of returning asylum seekers to the country’s southern border and subjecting them to long waits before evaluating their cases.
Casa warns that the idea of affecting all those who entered before July 16 is just another sign of the cruelty of this Administration, which is contradicting its own rules.
In that sense, the motion warns that the government said asylum seekers should enter the United States “the right way,” and therefore thousands waited and are waiting at the ports of entry to present their cases.
“There are people who are still waiting in Mexico for their appointment, and who showed up at the border before July 16 to sign up on the list; they would be affected,” Casa said.
The other problem is that most of these people waiting in Mexico could not apply for asylum in that country, because the 30 days allowed by Mexican immigration law to submit the petition have passed.
The lawyer explains that in very few cases the authorities of the neighboring country receive an application after 30 days.
Casa recommended that all those asylum seekers who arrived at U.S. border ports before July 16 be put on the list to keep proof that they attempted to make the petition before that date.
This evidence will allow immigrants to be included in a possible favorable ruling.
Judge Bashant is due to deliver her decision in the coming weeks.