Human Rights Attorneys Blast Trump Asylum Ban

Continuing Xenophobic Attacks on Vulnerable Migrants Is Clearly Unlawful


November 8, 2018, New York – Today, in response to the new Trump administration rule that would preemptively deny asylum to anyone who seeks it in the United States at a location other than a port of entry, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the statement below. The Center is litigating a case, Al Otro Lado v. Nielsen, together with cocounsel that challenges the Trump administration’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for the unlawful practice of depriving asylum seekers access to the U.S. asylum process along the southern border.

Donald Trump is playing with people’s lives. There is a reason U.S. law requires the U.S. government to process any non-citizen on U.S. soil – “whether or not at a designated port of arrival” – to apply for asylum. Following the horrors of World War II, this principle has endured in international law for 70 years to ensure refugees fleeing persecution – like those escaping unspeakable violence in Central America and elsewhere – can have an opportunity for a safe haven. This principle cannot be reversed by a flip of presidential pen. 

Today’s action was taken under the same ostensible emergency powers as Trump’s Muslim Ban. And, like the Muslim Ban, this Latino Ban is motivated by xenophobia, white supremacy and pandering to the darkest political instincts in the country. The rule pretends to accept the legitimacy of asylum applications made at ports of entry (POEs), but as our Al Otro Lawsuit shows, even at POEs, the administration is systematically turning away asylum seekers, in violation of the law.  This latest reflex represents an administration goal of achieving a total shutdown of Latinos to this country. It will be challenged in the courts, in the streets, and in the historical evaluation of the Trump administration’s lawless disregard for human rights.

The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at


Last modified 

November 8, 2018