Hundreds of Department of Homeland Security asylum and refugee officers urged a federal appeals court on Tuesday to block a policy from the Donald Trump administration that virtually bans asylum at the southern border, writing that it “defies our nation’s asylum laws and … rips at the moral fabric of our country.”
The amicus brief filed in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is the latest public challenge by the union representing the officers, which has previously pushed back on a policy forcing asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico as their cases proceed in the US. Its latest move offers a window into the struggles of the officers who are forced to carry out policies under the Trump administration that they find illegal and unconstitutional.
“Asylum officers who do this work are the ones tasked with applying it. We are the hands-on agents of this policy, and I don’t know of any asylum officers who think it is the right thing to do,” said Michael Knowles, an asylum officer and spokesperson for the National CIS Council 119, the union that filed the brief and represents thousands of US Citizenship and Immigration Services employees worldwide, including about 700 refugee and asylum officers.