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Virginia's Attorney General challenges President Trump's new asylum proposal

The proposal would allow the executive branch to deny asylum claims to immigrants seeking haven from domestic or gang violence.

RICHMOND, Va. — Attorney General Mark Herring and 21 other attorney generals on Friday challenged the Trump Administration’s proposed changes to asylum standards.

The new proposal, if implemented, would allow the executive branch to deny asylum claims to immigrants seeking haven from domestic or gang violence.

In an amicus brief filed in Grace v. Barr before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Attorney General Herring and his colleagues argue that these strict revisions go against federal law and judicial precedent, undermining the rule of law itself.

Herring said they filed the amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs’ challenge to the Trump Administration’s heightened asylum standards.

The lawsuit was first filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, the ACLU of Texas, and the ACLU of D.C., in response to a policy former Attorney General Jeff Sessions implemented in June 2018.  

“America has always stood as a safe place for those seeking asylum from danger or violence in their own country,” said Attorney General Herring. “The Trump Administration has continued to make decisions that send a message to refugees seeking asylum that they are not wanted here. This is not who we are as a country. My colleagues and I will stand up against the Trump Administration and protect asylum seekers who are only trying to make a better life for themselves and their families.” 

Joining Attorney General Herring in this amicus are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

View the amicus brief below:

In this amicus brief, the states collectively argue that the District Court’s decision to reject the administration’s heightened standards should be upheld, on the basis that:

  • The standards violate established federal law
  • The standards are inconsistent with the state, federal, and international policies protecting victims of violence
  • The standards restrict states’ abilities to grow their economies

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