CAIR Coalition Joins in Challenge of New Asylum Policy

by Michael Lukens, Esq.

The Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition is proud to be a plaintiff in a new lawsuit challenging President Trump’s Proclamation seeking to bar asylum for all migrants arriving at the southern border other than at a port of entry. The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of individual plaintiffs, CAIR Coalition, and Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES).  With individual plaintiffs impacted by the rule and novel statutory and due process claims, this lawsuit builds on other litigations challenging the government’s new asylum rules. 


“We are proud to unite with RAICES and Hogan Lovells to challenge injustice and help children and adults apply for asylum fairly in a way our laws allow. It is encouraging to see the leaders in the immigration advocacy community pushing back against the President’s actions, which will hurt people from the Southern Border to the Capital Region,” said Claudia Cubas, CAIR Coalition’s Litigation Director.


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Hogan Lovells challenges new asylum policy

WASHINGTON, D.C., 5 December 2018 – International law firm Hogan Lovells has filed a pro bono lawsuit challenging the recently announced immigration policy that would bar those entering the United States without inspection from being considered for asylum in the United States. The plaintiffs include individuals adversely affected by this new policy, as well as the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition (CAIR Coalition) and Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), two nonprofit organizations whose missions are to provide legal assistance to migrants fleeing persecution in their home countries.


“Many of those who have entered the United States without inspection have escaped unspeakable situations in their home countries, and the local authorities are unable or unwilling to protect them from serious harm or, in some cases, death,” said Hogan Lovells Partner Neal Katyal.  “U.S. law guarantees them the right to be considered for asylum, and our lawsuit seeks to ensure that they are able to avail themselves of that right.”


The suit challenges a new policy, implemented through a presidential proclamation, that purports to deny those entering the United States from Mexico other than through a port of arrival from being considered for asylum. The policy constitutes an unlawful assault on asylum eligibility against migrants disproportionately comprised of women, children, LGBT individuals, and other vulnerable populations who have been targeted in their home countries because of their personal circumstances.


“Our organizations have decided to bring suit on behalf of those who are most vulnerable to challenge an illegal policy that would deny them their legal right to be considered for asylum in the United States,” said Claudia Cubas, Litigation Director of CAIR Coalition. “With this suit we are once again helping children and adults seek asylum fairly.”


Among the plaintiffs represented pro bono by Hogan Lovells are a mother and son from Honduras who fled after repeated threats against their lives by MS-13 gang members. Both were detained by immigration officers for entering the United States outside a port of entry. Following an interview in which they expressed fear of torture or death by MS-13 if they returned to Honduras, they were told they were ineligible for asylum.


"We've seen extensive reporting on how the impossibly long lines at the port of entry in Tijuana are pushing desperate migrants to cross without inspection,” said Jonathan Ryan, Executive Director of RAICES. “This new policy is meant to punish those who feel they have no other way to reach safety in our country and disincentivizes those seeking asylum, a well-established pillar of international law. It is immoral and illegal, and we're hopeful that our suit will stop it."


CAIR Coalition strives to ensure equal justice for all immigrant adults and children at risk of detention and deportation in the Washington, D.C. region and beyond. RAICES is a nonprofit organization that promotes justice by providing free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families, and refugees in Texas.


The Hogan Lovells team is led by Neal Katyal, Craig Hoover, T. Clark Weymouth, Justin Bernick, Colleen Roh Sinzdak, Thomas Schmidt, Zachary Best, Mitchell Reich, Elizabeth Hagerty and Kaitlin Welborn.


About Hogan Lovells


Hogan Lovells is a leading global legal practice providing business-oriented legal advice and high-quality service across its exceptional breadth of practices to clients around the world.


“Hogan Lovells” or the “firm” is an international legal practice that includes Hogan Lovells US LLP and Hogan Lovells International LLP. For more information, see





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