NCLR filed an amicus brief in federal district court highlighting the stories of LGBTQ asylum seekers in East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Trump, a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s “asylum ban”‚ the rule and presidential proclamation barring asylum for individuals who enter the United States across the southern border outside of a port of entry.
East Bay Sanctuary Covenant and other nonprofit organizations sued the Trump administration in federal district court in California on November 9, 2018. On November 19, 2018, the court temporarily blocked the asylum ban from going into effect. The plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction to stop the asylum ban for the duration of the lawsuit.
NCLR’s brief, filed in support of the motion for preliminary injunction, highlights the direct and irreparable harm that the asylum ban will have on LGBTQ asylum seekers, who are particularly vulnerable. In addition to facing violence and other persecution in their countries of origin, LGBTQ asylum seekers, especially those who are transgender or gender nonconforming, risk violence and other serious harms at the southern border due to their gender identity or sexual orientation, and it is unsafe for them to remain in Mexico while they await processing and entry into the United States. The effect of the asylum ban is to foreclose a path to asylum for many LGBTQ refugees, and to place an already vulnerable group at a significantly higher risk of violence and other harm.
On December 19, 2018, the district court granted the motion for a preliminary injunction. The Trump Administration appealed, and on February 28, 2020, the Court of Appeals upheld the block on the Trump Administration’s attempt to restrict asylum applications to ports of entry.
NCLR’s brief was joined by Centro Legal de la Raza, El/La Para Translatinas, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, Immigration Equality, Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, Inc., and Transgender Law Center.