Members of a migrant caravan heading to the U.S. filed a lawsuit suing for their right to declare asylum in the U.S.

Six migrants in the caravan traveling from Honduras to the U.S.-Mexico border filed a lawsuit against President Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other members of the administration on Thursday, Nov. 1.

The group, represented by attorney John Shoreman, chose to sue for violation of their rights to declare asylum in the U.S., although they are still in southern Mexico, several weeks of travel away from the border.

According to the class action lawsuit, filed in a district court of Washington D.C., Trump “continues to abuse the law, including constitutional rights, to deter Central Americans from exercising their lawful right to seek asylum in the United States.”

Trump has been vocal with his promise to reject the estimated 7,000 migrants traveling in the caravan, the majority of whom entered Mexico without documentation. The Department of Defense has pledged 7,000 additional military personnel to assist border patrol and the nearly 1,000 troops have already arrived at likely entry points of Brownsville, TX; Nogales, AZ; and San Ysidro, CA.

Mexico border map

Major entry point system along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Shoreman’s court filing argued that “the plaintiffs are seeking asylum, and Trump simply cannot stop them from legally doing so by using military, or anyone.”

Trump Announces Migrant Policy of ‘Catch and Don’t Release’

Preceding the court filing on Thursday, Trump held a press conference and announced his migrant intake strategy and policy changes, which would impact those with asylum cases at the border.

All individuals will have to wait out their cases while in detention, and none will be released to family members in the U.S. on the promise to return for their court date. Migrants can also only access the option of asylum at certain entry points along the border.

“We’re going to catch; we’re not going to release,” Trump told reporters on Thursday. “They’re going to stay with us until the deportation hearing or the asylum hearing takes place. So we’re not releasing them into the community.”

Since detention centers do not have the capacity to house as many as the caravan suggests will arrive, Trump plans to construct massive tent cities where individuals will remain in detainment.

Shoreman addressed this in the lawsuit filed later that day, arguing that these tent cities would not meet the facility standards of care for immigrant children. Case verdicts can take weeks to arrive, and the administration is legally required to at least provide a temperature-controlled environment with access to ventilation, toilets, and drinking water.

 

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