President Trump's rhetoric about the organized 'caravans' of migrants plodding toward the US border has been nothing short of incendiary, as the president has threatened to send as many as 15,000 troops to the border to stop the mobs of "dangerous people" from entering the country. Among other claims, Trump hinted that he might ask soldiers to fire on the migrants if they start pelting border agents with rocks, and that he would be building "massive cities of tents" to house the would-be asylum seekers as they await their hearings in an effort to end the "abuse" of the US asylum seekers.
Well, apparently these remarks haven't sat well with members of the caravan and their shadowy financial backers, because a group of 12 migrants, six of them children, have filed a lawsuit against Trump, claiming his efforts to beef up security along the border, and threats to deprive them of asylum, represent "shockingly unconstitutional" attacks on their rights, according to Fox News.
The Fifth Amendment stipulates that "no person… shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." And ironically, none other than former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia helped cement these protections by ruling in a 1993 case that "it is well established that the Fifth Amendment entitles aliens to due process of law in a deportation proceeding."
Twelve Honduran nationals, including six children, were named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which was filed Thursday in the US District Court in Washington, D.C. The lawsuit alleges that it is widely known that Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are enmeshed in an "undergoing a well-documented human rights crisis." Furthermore, the suit claims that Trump cannot stop migrants from entering the US when they have a credible claim of asylum, according to the Washington Examiner.
Here's more from Fox:
The lawsuit points to Trump's claim that he will prevent the caravan from entering the U.S. It claims that the president cannot stop asylum-seekers by employing the military - when they have a fair claim. The suit criticized the president's attempt at stoking "fear and hysteria," by claiming that criminals and gang members have joined the caravan.
The suit cited a Trump interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, where the president laid out plans to build tent cities to house migrants. The suit questioned the functionality of such a project, and asked if these living quarters would qualify under the Flores Agreement of 1997. The agreement protects asylum-seekers’ rights and limits how long minors can be held.
Earlier this summer, a federal judge in California rejected a request by the administration to modify Flores to allow for longer family detention. Administration officials say they have the authority to terminate the agreement, but that is likely to be tested in court.
The suit also alleges that the US can't send troops across the US-Mexico border to stop migrants from entering the US. It also argues that Trump can't demand that asylum seekers present themselves at lawful border-crossing points, as US law states that an asylum seeker can declare their intention to seek asylum anywhere (the president said last week that he intends to issue an executive order declaring that asylum seekers declare at lawful border checkpoints).
Nexus Services Inc. is funding the lawsuits through a civil rights law firm called Nexus Derechos Humanos (Human Rights) Attorneys Inc.
"Federal law enables migrants to apply for asylum in the United States. President Trump and his administration have used ‘increased enforcement,’ like separating families and lengthening detention to violate migrant rights," Mike Donovan, president of Nexus Services, said in the release.
There is another legal issue at stake, according to the lawsuit. The U.S. cannot send troops into Mexico to cut off the caravan from crossing the border. Even with the National Guard at the border, once an immigrant indicates an intention to apply for asylum, the process has begun.
The White House, Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security were all named as defendants in the suit. The lawsuit is seeking an immediate judgment for the plaintiffs and a court declaration that Trump's border plan is unconstitutional.