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Migrants in caravan sue Trump administration for 'right' to seek asylum

By
Ed Adamczyk
Members of a caravan of Central American migrants headed for the United States rest in Matias Romero, Oaxaca, Mexico, on Thursday. Photo by Luis Villalobos/EPA-EFE
Members of a caravan of Central American migrants headed for the United States rest in Matias Romero, Oaxaca, Mexico, on Thursday. Photo by Luis Villalobos/EPA-EFE

Nov. 2 (UPI) -- A dozen Honduran migrants headed to the United States in a caravan of 4,000 have filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, saying they're being denied their legal right to seek asylum.

The class-action suit was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

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The plaintiffs, six adults and their children, say the U.S. administration's actions "abuse the law, including constitutional rights, to deter Central Americans from exercising their lawful right to seek asylum in the United States."

Michael Shoreman, the migrants' attorney in the case, said President Donald Trump's policy violates the Fifth Amendment, which holds that no person is to "be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." The law applies to undocumented immigrants, as well, although the process is variable, depending on what legal precedent is applied.

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The suit asks the federal court to invalidate several of Trump's policy proposals as unconstitutional. Trump has said the migrants, who are traveling from Honduras to the U.S. border through Mexico, will be housed in massive tent cities on the border -- an act the suit says likely violates a government agreement on the detention of children.

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Trump said he plans to mobilize as many as 7,000 U.S. troops to provide support at the border. The Pentagon has increased the scale of deployment three times over the past week.

About 1,000 troops have arrived and are in place around McAllen, Texas; Brownsville, Texas; San Ysidro, Calif. and Nogales, Ariz. Officials believe each is a likely port of entry for at least three caravans presently headed for the United States.

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The first group is about 800 miles from the border.

"The legal problem with Trump's plan to stop caravan persons from entering this country is that plaintiffs are seeking asylum, and Trump simply cannot stop them from legally doing so by using military, or anyone," the lawsuit says.

If the migrants succeed, migrants in the caravan would be entitled to a hearing to review their requests for asylum. Trump has said none of the migrants will be allowed to cross into the United States.

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Trump, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen are named as defendants in the suit, as well as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and the Citizenship and Immigration Services.

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