Attorney General Ford Continues Opposition to Trump Administration Rule Restricting Asylum Access

October 15, 2019

Carson City, NV - Today, Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford joined a multistate coalition opposing the Trump Administration's rule illegally limiting access to the asylum process. Under the rule, individuals entering the United States at the southern border, except in limited circumstances, are no longer able to seek asylum unless they applied for and were denied protection in at least one country they transited through prior to their arrival. In an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union in East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Barr, the coalition of 23 attorneys general urge the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to uphold the district court's ruling on the preliminary injunction.

    “Facing violence or persecution, asylum seekers look to us for help and safety,” said AG Ford. “As Attorney General, my ultimate goal is to welcome and protect Nevadans, and I will fight every attempt by the Trump Administration to turn its back on those in need of dire assistance.”

      In the brief, the coalition maintains that the rule significantly departs from core values enshrined in federal law and harms asylum-seekers and the states that welcome them. The rule forces asylum-seekers to go through what could amount to a fruitless asylum process in a potentially dangerous third country to even have a chance of being eligible for asylum in the U.S. This unnecessarily subjects asylum-seekers to peril and trauma throughout the process, and could encourage people to attempt risky journeys to enter the U.S. undetected in an effort to flee persecution.

        The rule will also have a particularly negative effect on unaccompanied children, LGBTQ applicants, and women asylum-seekers, for whom applying for asylum in a third country is extremely perilous. For example, two-thirds of the LGBTQ Central American asylum-seekers reportedly suffered sexual violence while transiting through Mexico and, in Guatemala, children are frequently targets of recruitment by criminal gangs. In addition, the rule will cause state agencies and non-profits to divert resources to address the added trauma asylum-seekers will suffer because of precarious conditions in third countries and will force states to lose out on the economic contributions of those who might otherwise have been welcomed to the country. Finally, in promulgating the rule, the Trump Administration failed to provide adequate notice, in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.

          In addition to Nevada, attorneys general from the following states and territory are included in this action: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawai’i, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

            In a September decision, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed a nationwide preliminary injunction pending subsequent proceedings that are currently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. A copy of the brief filed by the attorneys general is available here.