Washington, D.C. August 2, 2019 – The federal District Court for the District of Columbia today ruled in O.A. v. Trump that the Trump administration cannot bar refugees from asylum for crossing between ports of entry. The suit was brought by the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, Human Rights First, the National Immigrant Justice Center, RAICES, Hogan Lovells, and Williams & Connolly.
In response to the ruling, the organizations released the following statements:
Claudia Cubas, CAIR Coalition: “Today’s ruling is an important step in pushing back against the Trump administration’s systemic efforts to bar asylum from those who need it the most. Asking for asylum is not against the law irrespective of how you cross our borders. We are grateful that with this strong decision, the court maintained the integrity of our asylum laws.”
Neal Katyal, Hogan Lovells: “This is a resounding win for individuals seeking asylum. In a detailed 77-page opinion—issued after months of briefing and multiple oral arguments—the court held that the administration’s asylum ban violated the plain text of the immigration laws.” Mitchell Reich, Hogan Lovells: “Thanks to the tireless work of our clients, this policy has been permanently blocked from taking effect, and individuals fleeing some of the most dangerous conditions in the world will once again be assured the protections our nation’s laws unambiguously afford them.”
Hardy Vieux, Human Rights First: “We are grateful that the court recognized the simple fact that asylum saves lives. This administration has spent the past two years trying to dismantle this nation’s long-standing legacy of protecting refugees. Today’s ruling is a victory for refugees who want to live in safety with their families, for all those who fight for an America that is based on the rule of law and the belief that all human have dignity.”
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Keren Zwick, National Immigrant Justice Center: “NIJC is grateful that the federal judiciary is not afraid to stand up to the blatantly illegal attacks that the Trump administration has hurled at immigrants and asylum seekers. This decision is significant not only for the bona fide refugees who would have otherwise been denied the right to seek asylum under the illegal rule, but it gives us hope that future attacks on asylum seekers will meet the same fate.”
Manoj Govindaiah, RAICES: “Today’s ruling demonstrates that the administration’s attempt to deny access to asylum is illegal, plain and simple. The court affirmed the long-standing belief that the United States is a country that follows the rule of law, and a place where those fleeing persecution have a chance to seek protection with due process and dignity.
Ana Reyes, Williams & Connolly: “We thank Human Rights First and NIJC for the opportunity to work with them in support of their important advocacy on behalf of refugees everywhere.”
The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) is a nongovernmental organization dedicated to ensuring human rights protections and access to justice for all immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers through a unique combination of direct services, policy reform, impact litigation and public education. Visit immigrantjustice.org and follow @NIJC.