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Judge contradicts Trump, removes CBP agents from deciding asylum cases

The judicial decision is temporary “pending an opinion on the merits of this case”

USCIS is the one normally in charge of reviewing asylum petitions.

Photo: John Moore / Getty Images

A federal judge temporarily halted the policy of the President’s Government on Monday Donald trump that authorizes Customs and Border Protection agents (CBP, in English) to evaluate the validity of the arguments of those who seek asylum in the United States because they fear returning to their countries.

Judge Richard Leon of the District of Columbia rated it as “foolishness”The government argument about training CBP agents for that task, and prohibited the Government from removing the applicants from the country “pending an opinion on the merits of this case.”

Under American law, When a person requests asylum, their case is evaluated by the Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), but on January 30, by an ordinance of the Trump Administration, there was a “memorandum of understanding” that gave that authority to CBP.

In these interviews, the applicant, with due legal advice, can present the reasons why you have fled your country, and for which the return represents a threat to their safety or their life.

Leon wrote in his decision that “the plaintiffs have filed many important arguments, but I need to focus on just one of them. “

“Plaintiffs have demonstrated the likelihood of success on the merits of their claim whereby the use of CBP agents, who receive Substantially lower instruction than (agents of) USCIS to conduct the asylum interviews, violates the Immigration and Nationality Law ”.

President Trump, who has made anti-immigration policy one of the pillars of his government and, now, of his campaign for re-election, instituted at the beginning of 2019 a measure (MPP) that rejects those seeking asylum at the southern border and returns them to Mexico and some Central American countries to wait there for a hearing on their cases.

Likewise, three months ago, Trump ordered CBP agents to apply the guidelines of the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC, in English) to determine if asylum seekers have symptoms of COVID-19, which has allowed the federal agency return for health reasons to applicants.

The plaintiffs in the case on which Judge Leon halted are four mothers and their children being held at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in Dilley, Texas.

These individuals allege that they fled their countries due to violence and persecution and indicated their intention to seek asylum, but instead of being interviewed by trained USCIS agents, each of them was subjected to what the Center for Constitutional Responsibility describes as “Aggressive interrogations” by CBP agents.

The agents, according to the lawsuit, did not seek relevant information for the requests, they took incorrect notes of what the applicants declared and they made other mistakes. In all cases, CBP agents concluded that the applicants were not in danger of prosecution.

The families sued officials from the Department of Homeland Security, and acting CBP director Mark Morgan, who had approved the ordinance.

Among the other arguments in the lawsuit to which Judge Leon referred is that Morgan did not have the authority to approve the settlement with USCIS given his position as acting director of CBP is invalid under the Federal Vacancy Reform Act.

In addition, the plaintiffs alleged that the policy violates the National Security Act, which created the department of that name, as well as the immigration laws of the United States.

By Jorge A. Bañales