Please join EBSC in speaking out against the Trump administration’s attacks on asylum laws and policies.

“The Trump administration is waging an all-out battle on asylum protections. The government’s proposed bans would have a huge and detrimental impact on the vulnerable populations we serve — victims of gender-based violence, indigenous Guatemalans, LGBT individuals, and unaccompanied children. Our clients deserve safety and protection under U.S. and international asylum law.”

–Michael Smith, EBSC’s Director of Refugee Rights

EBSC is lead plaintiff in two current lawsuits—EBSC v. Trump and EBSC v. Barr.


In November 2018, when the Trump administration tried to deny asylum rights to anyone who couldn’t reach an official port of entry – a potential death sentence for thousands of people – we took them to court.

Status: PENDING. We won a temporary Supreme Court injunction, but expect a prolonged court battle and need the resources to see it through.

Why does EBSC v. Trump matter?

The words on the Statue of Liberty — “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” – exemplify core values for our country and illustrate why EBSC exists. 

Founded in 1982, EBSC has one of the largest asylum programs in the country and has filed almost 4,000 asylum cases with an over 97% success rate – demonstrating that our clients have legitimate cases that are being approved by the U.S. government. 

This attack is another example of the Trump administration rewriting the law to discriminate against refugees of color from poor countries.


In July 2019, we joined a new ACLU-led lawsuit challenging the administration’s racist and unlawful ban on people seeking asylum if they passed through a third country to reach the U.S.

Status: PENDING. We won another injunction, but in September 2019, the Supreme Court issued a devastating decision to remove it. In a parallel case to EBSC v. Barr, on June 30, 2020, Judge Kelly held in I.A. v. Barr that the government violated the APA’s notice and comment requirement and vacated the rule. Soon after this decision, the 9th Circuit ruled in EBSC’s favor on the preliminary injunction, allowing us to file for asylum clients who transited through other countries. There could be a negative impact if the cases are overturned on appeal, but we will warn our clients and let them decide if they want to move forward with their cases. 

Why does EBSC v. Barr Matter?

  • The administration’s rule is clearly unlawful. While this lawsuit is working its way through the appeals process, there is a desperate need to have a nationwide injunction so that asylum seekers are not sent back into life threatening danger while this case is being litigated. The stakes in this case could not be higher. This case would effectively end asylum at the southern border for everyone except Mexicans. 
  • The Trump administration’s attempts to dismantle asylum protections upend four decades of law. Since enacting the asylum statute in 1980, Congress has made it absolutely clear that you can apply for asylum in the U.S. even if you did not enter through a legal port of entry or if you transited through another country. The Trump administration’s policies are racist and xenophobic, harming primarily refugees of color who are fleeing atrocious persecution and violence
  • Nearly all of EBSC clients are victims of atrocious forms of persecution – 80% have been raped or sexually abused, including male and female children.