Refugee rights groups file lawsuit against new asylum rule
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Refugee rights groups file lawsuit against new asylum rule

The American Civil Liberties Union and Southern Poverty Law Center filed a lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of refugee resettlement organizations and civil rights centers in California against Attorney General William Barr and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan arguing that a new rule barring non-citizens who transit through another country on their way to the US from seeking asylum violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The new rule was immediately issued—both created and set to go into effect on Tuesday⁠—which the suit argues is a violation of the required procedural steps of the APA.

The complaint also cites the INA as its basis for relief⁠—specifically, where it declares that a non-citizen is ineligible for asylum in the US only if she “was firmly resettled in another country prior to arriving in the United States.”

“As part of our nation’s commitment to the protection of people fleeing persecution and consistent with our international obligations, it is longstanding federal law that merely transiting through a third country is not a basis to categorically deny asylum to refugees who arrive at our shores,” the complaint states.