08.21.20

Leahy Leads Bicameral Amicus Brief In Litigation Against President Trump’s Illegal Asylum Ban

. . . . Seeking to preserve lower court decision striking down illegal ban

(FRIDAY, Aug. 21, 2020) – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is leading a bicameral amicus brief in O.A. v. Trump at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, seeking to preserve the D.C. District Court’s decision to strike down President Trump’s plainly illegal ban on all asylum claims outside of ports of entry.  Leahy’s previous amicus brief helped the plaintiff asylum seekers convince the lower court to strike down President Trump’s illegal ban.

Leahy filed this amicus brief at the D.C. Circuit joined by other leading voices on immigration, asylum, and humanitarian issues in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives: Senators Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawai‘i), as well as Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.).

The brief makes clear that – as the D.C. District Court concluded – President Trump’s executive action contravenes unambiguously clear provisions in statute protecting the rights of migrants to apply for asylum anywhere along U.S. borders.  The brief describes how this executive action was an unlawful attempt to override overwhelmingly bipartisan congressional intent – reaffirmed repeatedly, over decades – by executive fiat, abandoning the United States’ historic role as a refuge for those fleeing violence and persecution.

Leahy said:  “As the D.C. District Court rightly ruled, President Trump’s asylum ban is illegal on its face, plain and simple.  President Trump cannot just undo clear provisions of the law with the stroke of his pen.  That’s not how our democracy works.  Since the enactment of the Refugee Act of 1980 – which I proudly voted for as a young senator – Congress has repeatedly reaffirmed in statute its understanding that migrants have the right to apply for asylum anywhere along our borders.  Preserving the right to seek asylum along our borders is a recognition of America’s role – indeed, America’s identity – as a haven for those fleeing the horrors of war, persecution, and gang violence.  Our amicus brief is a clear and detailed reminder to President Trump that he cannot – and will not – erase our legacy and role as the humanitarian leader of the world.”      

The full text of the bicameral amicus brief can be found here.

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