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Lawsuit challenges asylum 'Turnback Policy'

Many advocates in Colorado and across the country have expressed rising concerns about the Trump administration's approach to immigration policy, especially on refugee and asylum issues. Legal action in multiple venues has followed a wave of intense enforcement, including one lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The suit alleges that the administration acted illegally by deliberately restricting access to the asylum process at entry ports on the border between the United States and Mexico.

The claim notes that, according to the official "Turnback Policy," U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents have illegally denied migrants' ability to seek asylum. Allegations include purportedly false claims that the agents did not have the capacity to process further asylum claims. In addition, the suit alleges that the policy builds on other practices used since 2016 in order to prevent people from making an application for asylum in the U.S. According to the SPLC, the policy violates both domestic and international law by subjecting vulnerable people to danger, deportation or even death.

The lawsuit was filed Oct. 12 on behalf of a legal services organization for immigrants as well as 13 people individually seeking asylum in the country. Lawyers said that asylum seekers at the border are given false or misleading information in an attempt to deter their claims for asylum. People have reportedly been told that the U.S. no longer accepts asylum claims at all or from their countries of origin. In other cases, people have been shouted at or harassed when seeking to pursue an asylum claim.

Policies like those challenged in the lawsuit have been particularly concerning for immigrants, even those who are already established with legal status or pursuing asylum or refugee status. Someone who is concerned about their status can consult with an immigration lawyer about the next steps they can take to protect their rights.

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