Legal Challenge

  Amicus Briefs Challenge 

Policy Denying Asylum Seekers

Safety, Legal Rights

    (SPLC) - 11/27/2020 - 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.