ImmDef v. Mayorkas
Under the first iteration of the Migrant 'Persecution' Protocols (MPP 1.0) , the government trapped nearly 70,000 individuals seeking asylum in Mexico. After suffering harm in their home countries, surviving harrowing journeys, and seeking protection at the U.S.-Mexico border, asylum seekers were sent back to border towns in Mexico to await immigration court hearings. During this time, Human Rights First tracked 1,314 reports of violent attacks on migrants and asylum seekers stuck in Mexico, a likely undercount of such incidents due to reduced in-person research while pandemic-related travel restrictions were in place.
ImmDef bore witness to the unrelenting
violence, illnesses, deprivations, and danger
that our clients and other asylum seekers were forced to endure. To make matters worse, by December 2020, only 7.5% of those subjected
to MPP were able to secure lawyers.
ImmDef's efforts to provide urgent legal support were deliberately thwarted by the Trump administration's implementation of MPP which made it virtually impossible for asylum seekers to gain access into the United States, no matter how dire their circumstances.
On October 28th, 2020, ImmDef and Jewish Family Services of San Diego, along with
several individual clients, filed a lawsuit against the federal government seeking justice for asylum seekers harmed under MPP 1.0.
We are represented by the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Innovation Law Lab, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and the law firm Arnold & Porter. We are demanding that the government facilitate the return of individual plaintiffs to the United States and ensure meaningful access to the asylum process to those denied humanitarian protections under MPP 1.0.
On May 16th, 2022, our team attended oral argument before the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on the Biden’s administration’s attempt to dismiss the lawsuit. The court indicated it will hold any rulings until after the United States Supreme Court weighs in on a related case challenging MPP, Biden v. Texas, where a decision is expected in June 2022.
October 28, 2020
Complaint filed in U.S. District Court, Central District of California.
Margaret Cargioli, Joyce Noche, Munmeeth Soni, Lindsay Toczylowski
October 28, 2020
United States District Court, Central District of California