Honduran, Guatemalan and Salvadoran migrants traveling in a caravan to seek asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border have filed a class-action civil suit in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., claiming that President Donald 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.”
The lawsuit urges the federal court to declare several of Trump’s recent policy proposals to be in violation of the supreme law of the land, “to end this case and controversy.”
John Shoreman, the attorney defending the migrants, is arguing that Trump is in violation of the Fifth Amendment, which states that “no person shall…be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”
Every year, tens of thousands of Guatemalans, Salvadorans and Hondurans attempt to press into the US alone. However, recently, more than 7,000 people have decided to band together in an attempt to escape gang activity, violence and poverty in their home countries.
In an interview with CNN, the group of migrants explained that they are fleeing poverty and violence. They claim to be ready to stand their ground against US troops, who are being deployed to guard the border between the US and Mexico.
While they maintain hope, the journey to freedom isn’t an easy one. To get to the border of the U.S. and Mexico, immigrants from the Northern Triangle must travel through Mexico. This can take weeks and is considered very dangerous.
In an attempt to keep illegal immigration rates low, the U.S. has called upon Mexico to apprehend migrants before they make it to the U.S. border. Over the last several years, 950,000 people have been deported from Mexico, and human rights advocate groups have noted stories of torture and disappearances by Mexican security forces.
Homeland Security Secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen spoke on the issue on Sunday in an interview with Fox News. She stated that the caravan of Central American immigrants “is not getting in.”
“My general message to this caravan is: Do not come; you will not be allowed in,” said Nielsen. “There is a right way to immigrate to the United States, and this is not it.”
The Mexican government has already offered asylum to many members of the caravan, but Trump and his administration refuse to change their stance on the issue.
“Mexico has offered them asylum—in some cases, they have refused. Mexico has offered them work permits—in some cases, they have refused. What the president and I are both saying… is, ‘if you seek asylum, do so in that country,’” said Nielsen “Mexico has offered you refuge. If you want a job, that is not asylum. If you want to be reunited with your family, that is not asylum. If you want to just come live in the United States, that is not asylum. There are legal ways to do that, but this is about the rule of law.”
Regardless of the President’s views of the immigrants coming from Central America, the fact that gang activity and poverty have left them displaced has not changed. Returning to their home countries is not an option for many of the people traveling in the caravan.