Migrant Mothers, Children Sue US Over Asylum Ban

18 September, 2019

A group of migrant mothers and children have taken legal action against the American government. They say the Trump administration has unreasonably banned their entry to the United States, violating their rights as asylum-seekers.

The 126 women and children from 59 families are mostly from the poor and violent Central American countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. The individuals were rejected early in the asylum process while they were detained in Dilley, Texas. They were denied asylum under a new law that requires migrants first seek asylum in another country as they travel to the U.S.

In this photo of August 30, 2019, two women and their daughters, among dozens of migrants, many of whom were returned to Mexico under the "Stay in Mexico" program. (AP Photo / Verónica G. Cárdenas)

Hassan Ahmad is the lead lawyer for the mothers and children. He said the government has established changes to the asylum process without warning. He said asylum-seekers are not being told which of the new rules will apply to their cases. Ahmad says his group is arguing the way in which the new law is enforced, not the law itself.

He filed their legal action in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

Other legal actions already are challenging the law. Lower courts had agreed to block the rule immediately. But last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the law can take effect immediately while the legal actions against asylum-seekers are considered.

The Justice Department did not immediately answer a request for comment.

President Donald Trump's administration has called the increase in migrants from Central America a "crisis." It says most migrants make false asylum claims as a way to enter the United States.

I'm Susan Shand.

The Reuters News Agency reported this story. Susan Shand adapted it for VOA Learning English. Catherine Weaver was the editor.

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Words in This Story

challenge – v. to question someone's action or authority

apply - v. is relevant to a thing or person