A.C.L.U. Sues to Stop Biden’s Asylum Ban on the U.S.-Mexico Border

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on Wednesday challenging President Biden’s decision to shut down the southern border to nearly all migrants seeking asylum in the United States.

The action is the first legal challenge to an order that the Biden administration hopes will decrease the number of illegal border crossings and neutralize one of the president’s most serious political vulnerabilities.

In a statement, the A.C.L.U. said the asylum ban, which went into effect one week ago, violated legal protections for people seeking protection in the United States.

Mr. Biden’s order blocked access to asylum for migrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border without authorization. President Donald J. Trump tried to cut off migration in a similar way in 2018, but the move was blocked in federal court.

“The asylum statute could not be clearer: that one must be able to seek protection regardless of where they enter the country, which is why the courts struck down Trump’s near-identical asylum ban and is undoubtedly why the Biden administration has acknowledged it may not be able to do this by unilateral executive fiat,” said Lee Gelernt, a lawyer with the A.C.L.U. who has challenged several immigration policies under the Biden and Trump administrations.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. It takes issue with the executive action broadly, as well as several more narrow restrictions that the administration has imposed, such as giving migrants only four hours to find a lawyer if they want to argue that they be granted an exception to the asylum ban.

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