OPINION: Seeking asylum is not illegal

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, a federal judge blocked a Trump administration policy that prevented immigrants who suffered gang violence or domestic abuse in their home countries from seeking asylum.

This all began in June when former Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed the grant of asylum to a Salvadoran woman who fled sexual and domestic violence she suffered at the hands of her then-husband. Sessions used that ruling to issue a legal decision that would disqualify whole categories of claims as legitimate grounds for asylum in the United States.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) then brought forth a lawsuit, in August of 2019. This lawsuit was on behalf of 12 adults and children who had their asylum claims wrongfully rejected at the “credible fear” screening stage based on the policy KTLA reported.

“The government’s attempt to obliterate asylum protections is unlawful and inconsistent with our country’s longstanding commitment to providing protection to immigrants fleeing for their lives,” said Jennifer Chang Newell of the ACLU, who argued the case, according to the KTLA article.

Judge Emmet Sullivan struck down the policy for being contrary to the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Refugee Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act. The judge also said that “it is the will of Congress – not the whims of the executive” that sets the standard for expedited removal.

Everyone has a right to seek asylum. Seeking asylum is not illegal.

Many of these asylum seekers whose requests are being denied will be forced to return to the dangers they try to escape.

The U.S. government trying to tell these people that their fears are not valid enough and forcing them to return to those dangers is simply dehumanizing.

This ruling was a blow to the Trump administration but it is not the end.

We have to keep fighting. We can’t turn our backs on these asylum seekers.

We can’t, and we won’t.