November 9, 2018 / 8:08 PM / 8 days ago

U.S. rights groups seek to block Trump asylum order

(Reuters) - Civil rights groups said on Friday they had filed a federal lawsuit challenging the legality of U.S. President Donald Trump’s newly announced restrictions that would effectively bar illegal migrants from Mexico from qualifying for asylum.

The lawsuit in San Francisco federal court by the American Civil Liberties Union, Southern Poverty Law Center and Center for Constitutional Rights seeks an injunction to prevent the administration from implementing the asylum policy.

Trump on Friday signed a proclamation that effectively will suspend the granting of asylum to migrants who cross the U.S. border with Mexico illegally for up to 90 days.

The order, which goes into effect on Saturday, means that migrants will have to present themselves at U.S. ports of entry to qualify for asylum.

Civil rights groups have said that U.S. immigration law clearly allows anyone present in the country to seek asylum, regardless of how they crossed the border.

“President Trump’s new asylum ban is illegal. Neither the president nor his cabinet secretaries can override the clear commands of U.S. law, but that’s exactly what they’re trying to do,” Omar Jadwat of the American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement.

Reporting by Tom HalsEditing by James Dalgleish and Cynthia Osterman

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