Hondurans in migrant caravan sue Trump administration over 'abuse' of power on border policies

The class-action lawsuit claims the Trump administration is violating the Fifth Amendment

Sarah Harvard
New York
Friday 02 November 2018 22:55
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Donald Trump: immigrants to 'present themselves legally' at border or void asylum claim

Six Honduran refugees and migrants are suing President Donald Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and other administration officials over their policies against the migrant caravan approaching the US border.

The class-action lawsuit was filed in US District Court in Washington DC.

And asserts that the Trump administration are taking “shockingly unconstitutional” measures to prevent asylum seekers from entering the country. The suit argues that the Trump administration “continues to abuse the law, including constitutional rights, to deter Central Americans from exercising their lawful right to seek asylum in the United States.”

The president said he will send about 15,000 armed troops, border patrol officers and ICE agents to the US-Mexico border to block asylum seekers from crossing. On Thursday, approximately 100 armed soldiers arrived at the border in Texas.

Mr Trump also said undocumented immigrants will be detained in “massive tent cities” until their deportation. He also said he will block asylum seekers from claiming asylum if they enter the US outside of its legal ports.

Some of these proposals already violate constitutional and international law. As of right now, American law states that people—regardless of they entered into the country—are allowed to claim asylum anywhere in the US. The proposal, which would likely be enacted as an executive action, violates international asylum law.

The lawsuit also argues the administration’s proposal to detain immigrants until their deportation violates the Fifth Amendment and the Flores Settlement. The Fifth Amendment grants the right to due process for all individuals, which declares “no person shall [...]be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” The Flores Settlement, from the 1997 Supreme Court Case Flores v Reno, dictates how and for how long the US government can detain immigrant children. Under the settlement, US Customs and Border Patrol must release immigrant children within 72 hours, and either send them to a close relative or family friend, or transferred to Health and Human Services.

Nexus Services, an immigration services company, is financially backing the class-action lawsuit.

“The President is violating federal law, trampling the rights of Americans and legal immigrants to be free from use of the military for law enforcement, and has set up a potential catastrophe at the US/Mexico border all in the name of white nationalism and with the objective of scoring political points,” Nexus Services President said in a statement.

Mr Trump did boast his immigration proposals at a campaign rally on Thursday in hopes of urging the crowd to “vote Republican.”

“Sending soldiers to border, Trump continues his campaign to militarize the border and brutalize immigrant families to score political points and enflame racist tendencies among his supporters,” the statement added.

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Mr Trump continued to threaten asylum seekers and migrants on Friday when he warned that soldiers will shoot at any rock-throwers in the migrant caravan.

“They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back,” the president told the press, after mentioning reports of violent clashes between the caravan and authorities at the Guatemalan-Mexican border.

“I told them to consider it a rifle. When they throw rocks like what they did to the Mexican military and police I say consider it a rifle.”

The caravan is about weeks away from reaching the US southern border.

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