Asylum at the Border: Presidential Violation of the Rule of Law and American Baptist Churches v. Thornburg (1991)

The Trump administration is deliberately, and systematically violating well-established asylum law at the border. It is doing so by creating "policies" and "guidance" which break the law. For all who care about the "rule of law" and Romans 13, now is the time to speak up. This administration is violating the law with impunity because it also controls the federal law enforcement mechanisms which have been established to prevent such violations. As a consequence, slow, lengthy, and expensive lawsuits are one of the few recourses available for concerned citizens. 

The same thing happened in the 1980's. Fleeing the violence of civil war in Central America (Guatemala and El Salvador), thousands exercised their legal right to come to the border and apply for asylum. As a side note, the U.S. signed on to such asylum laws in the wake of WWII in order to safeguard against the repeat of racial holocaust. Then, as now, the U.S. federal government denied due process to asylum applicants. It did so because the U.S. was supporting the military dictatorships which were killing hundreds of thousands, and causing their families to flee. 

A lawsuit was filed by churches and other religious organizations called, American Baptist Churches vs. Thornburg. The lawsuit, which was connected the original Sanctuary Movement (of churches, synagogues, and religious communities in the 1980's), asserted that the legally established due process rights of asylum applicants had been violated by the presidential administration. In a stunning victory, religious advocates won! As part of the settlement, the presidential administration agreed to review, "de novo," 500,000 asylum applications which had been passed over in violation of legally-protected due process. Several years later, green cards were issued to these 500,000 asylum applicants as part of the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act! 

We are at this place again, in 2018. Concerned Christians and religious advocates won then, and, by the grace and empowerment of God in Christ Jesus, we will win again!