Los Angeles, CA – A family seeking asylum at the California-Mexico border and Innovation Law Lab, a non-profit organization that seeks to advance refugee and immigrant justice, filed a Motion to Intervene in Arizona v. CDC. Arizona v. CDC is a case brought in the Western District of Louisiana by Arizona, Texas, and 20 non-border states seeking to stop the Biden Administration’s termination of the Title 42 order which, for over two years, has effectively closed the border to people seeking asylum. Represented by the Center for Immigration Law and Policy at the UCLA School of Law (CILP) and the National Immigration Project for the National Lawyers Guild, the intervenors argue that any court order keeping Title 42 in place should not apply to those seeking asylum in California and New Mexico.
“People like us are only seeking safety,” said Alicia Duran Raymundo, a named intervenor. Alicia, her partner and their 6 year-old daughter fled El Salvador after receiving death threats from members of the Sureños 18 gang. They traveled nearly 3,000 miles from El Salvador to Mexico where they continue to face precarious conditions. They seek to live with their extended family in California while pursuing asylum, but US officials have not allowed them to even ask for it. “We’ve tried many times to ask for asylum but they just tell us the border is closed because of Title 42, that there is no asylum in the United States.”
“For over two years, the Title 42 order has shut down the asylum system and endangered the lives of people seeking protection at the border,” said Monika Y. Langarica, Staff Attorney for the Center for Immigration Law and Policy. “While we believe the CDC was right to terminate that order, we seek to intervene to argue that, even if the court disagrees, it should limit its orders to the states that filed suit, and not interfere with the rights of people seeking asylum in California and New Mexico.”
“Title 42 is killing people, not saving people. The policy has formed a wholesale blockade of the asylum system and we won’t stand for it,” said Ian Philabaum, Co-Director of Anticarceral Legal Organizing for Innovation Law Lab, an organization that provides legal representation to asylum-seeking individuals–many of whom seek asylum at the southern border. “Our mission is to fight for immigrant and refugee justice and equity, including by advancing people’s right to seek asylum to save their lives. In one fell swoop, Title 42 thwarts our ability to pursue our mission and people’s ability to pursue their survival. It’s a Three-card Monte where the asylum system and the lives that depend on it always lose.”
“For more than two years, Title 42 has cruelly and arbitrarily prevented people from exercising their right to seek asylum in the U.S.," said Joseph Meyers, Staff Attorney at the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild. "Now that the federal government has finally started to end this callous policy, a small number of states – most of which have no international border – seek to dictate national immigration policy by seeking a nationwide injunction from a district court in Louisiana, a state which also does not border Mexico. Given the extent of the harm such an order would cause and the narrow interests of the states involved, any injunction should at the very least be limited only to the states involved in the litigation and should not take effect nationwide.”
Alicia’s family hopes to join their relatives in California while their asylum cases are decided. Innovation Law Lab and the network of hundreds of advocates and attorneys who volunteer with it stand ready to help families like Alicia’s seeking asylum.
This is not the first time that CILP has argued for limiting the scope of injunctions. Last month CILP submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in Biden v. Texas, a case brought by Texas and Missouri challenging the Biden Administration’s termination of the so-called Migrant Protection Protocols. In Biden v. Texas, like in Arizona v. CDC, CILP argues that the injunction should not be nationwide in scope, but rather should be limited to the states that filed suit.
Founded in 2020, the Center for Immigration Law and Policy (CILP) at the UCLA School of Law expands the law school's role as a national leader in immigration law and policy, generating innovative ideas at the intersection of immigration scholarship and practice and serving as a hub for transforming those ideas into meaningful changes in immigration policy.