East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Trump
East Bay Sanctuary Covenant Plaintiff in Lawsuit Challenging New Trump Asylum Ban
On November 9, 2018, President Trump issued a proclamation that, in combination with a rule promulgated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) that same day, bars from seeking asylum any individuals who enter the United States from Mexico between ports of entry.
EBSC is one of four plaintiffs named in a lawsuit immediately filed in federal court in San Francisco charging the administration with violating the Immigration and Nationality Act as well as the Administrative Procedure Act that specifically state that any individual in the U.S. or arriving at the border – “whether or not at a designated port of arrival” – has a legal right to apply for asylum.
These laws apply to people who are already in the U.S. and are unable to return to their home country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
“The asylum ban, coupled with CBP’s widespread practice and policy of turning back individuals attempting to seek asylum at ports of entry, would effectively deny protection to thousands of vulnerable individuals. The government’s blatant disregard for the rights of asylum seekers cannot stand.”
--Melissa Crow, Southern Poverty Law Center Senior Supervising Attorney
Why does this matter?
The words on the Statue of Liberty -- “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” – exemplify core values for our country and illustrate why EBSC exists.
East Bay Sanctuary Covenant was founded in 1982 as part of the Sanctuary Movement with a mission to help people fleeing from horrific civil wars in Central America.
EBSC has one of the largest affirmative asylum programs in the country and has filed nearly 5,000 asylum cases with an over 97% success rate in adjudicated cases - demonstrating that our clients have legitimate cases that are being approved by the U.S. government.
This attack is another example of the Trump administration rewriting the law to discriminate against refugees of color from poor countries.
EBSC reaffirms our commitment to support people’s fundamental human right to seek asylum.
Facts about the Asylum Ban Lawsuit
“The ban will have a huge and detrimental impact on hundreds of Bay Area asylum applicants. For 36 years, we have helped vulnerable populations — victims of gender-based violence, indigenous Guatemalans, LGBT individuals, unaccompanied children, and people fleeing political persecution — obtain asylum. Our clients deserve safety and protection under U.S. and international asylum law.”
- Michael Smith, EBSC’s Director of Refugee Rights
- 80% of EBSC clients enter the U.S. without inspection after fleeing atrocious forms of persecution. They have never heard of asylum. They are fleeing for their lives and may not have a passport or proper documentation. Most do not know there’s a designated port of entry. They are just trying to find safety. All of these people deserve the opportunity to ask for asylum and have an immigration officer review their case.
- EBSC serves clients who are extremely poor, uneducated, and/or only marginally literate. It is impossible for them to get visas to come to the U.S. Only people with money, resources, and connections can get visas.
- Nearly all of EBSC clients are victims of atrocious forms of persecution – 80% have been raped or sexually abused, including male and female children.
- Nearly all of EBSC clients suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and/or depression due to the horrific persecution they endured. The trauma is compounded on the dangerous journey north. It often takes years for our profoundly traumatized clients to heal enough and feel safe enough to come out of the shadows to apply for asylum.
- Many of EBSC’s clients, including LGBTQ people and survivors of gender-based violence, are fleeing persecution in Mexico. This shows why people may not want to obtain asylum in Mexico.
- Going forward, 80% of EBSC clients would be unable to apply for asylum. The ramifications of the Trump administration’s actions will be long-reaching for people who are genuinely deserving of asylum protection. EBSC’s 36-year old asylum program reaching the most traumatized populations would be terminated.
- Write your congressional representatives! A sample letter/email is forthcoming.
- Join EBSC’s social media networks. Share accurate news and articles so more people are informed of the detrimental impact of the Asylum Ban. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!
- Support EBSC by volunteering or donating – your support matters!
Find the complaint here: https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/east-bay-sanctuary-covenant-v-trump-complaint