Florida residents who are following the legal battles over President Trump's attempts to stem the flow of Central American migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border may be aware that the administration's attorneys had an eventful day on July 24. In the morning, a federal judge in Washington, D.C. chose not to block a rule that would require migrants to file their asylum claims in a third country rather than continuing to the United States. In the afternoon, a judge in San Francisco issued a preliminary injunction order that temporarily suspends the controversial rule.
Immigrant advocacy groups including the Southern Poverty Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union are behind the lawsuits challenging the rule. President Trump says the rule, which was announced on July 15, is needed to address a crisis at the southern border that is being fueled by waves of immigrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador seeking asylum in the United States. The president claims that the vast majority of their asylum claims are bogus. The White House is expected to appeal the ruling.
Attorneys challenging the rule argued that it could not be imposed until the administration negotiated safe third country agreements with the nations involved. The Mexican and Guatemalan governments have both resisted the White House in this area. The judge who issued the restraining order said that he was not convinced Mexico would qualify as a safe country even if such a deal was reached.
Asylum is only granted when immigrants can establish a credible threat of violence or persecution based on their race, political opinions, national origin or religion. Attorneys with experience in immigration cases might help asylum seekers prepare for their credible fear interviews and gather evidence that could convince a judge their concerns are genuine. Attorneys may also explain the other avenues available to those seeking residency in the United States.