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Whistleblowers Say CBP Knowingly Broke The Law As It Turned Back Asylum-Seekers

September 23, 2020 (1 min read)

Max Rivlin-Nadler, KPBS, Sept. 18, 2020

"A new filing in federal court claims that Customs and Border Protection knew it was breaking the law when it began turning away asylum-seekers at the southern border.

The filings are part of a class-action lawsuit that centers on the thousands of asylum-seekers who have been turned away at Ports-of-Entry across the southern border since late 2016. The asylum-seekers are then told to put their names on a list and wait in border cities like Tijuana.


CBP has said they simply didn’t have the capacity to process more than just a few asylum-seekers each day. But a new filing says CBP was breaking the law and Department of Homeland Security leadership knew it.

“Unlike their characterization of events, it wasn’t just a few bad apples, it wasn’t just a few officers who were turning away asylum-seekers, it actually was a policy and practice that was directed from the highest levels,” said Erika Pinheiro, a staff attorney with Al Otro Lado, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit to end the turnbacks."