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Asylum officers union comes out against Biden administration's asylum rule in new legal brief

A national union representing U.S. asylum officers and other immigration employees is asking a federal court to invalidate the Biden administration’s new asylum rule.

The rule was enacted in May, as pandemic-era asylum restrictions tied to Title 42 came to an end. Under the new rule, migrants seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border could be denied if they don’t seek protection in another country first. They could also be turned away if they don't make an asylum appointment through CBP One, which is available at a handful of ports of entry border-wide. 

The ACLU filed suit almost immediately after the rule went into place, arguing the rule resuscitates and combines illegal features of Trump-era restrictions already struck down in federal court. 

The National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council 119 represents more than 14,000 Citizenship and Immigration Services employees, including some 1,000 asylum officers tasked with enforcing that rule.

In a new filing, the union argues the rule effectively eliminates asylum at the border and will cause many asylum seekers with strong claims to be sent back to the danger they fled. 

"Council 119’s members are deeply committed to advancing our country’s proud tradition of serving as a refuge for the persecuted," the amicus brief reads. "The Rule forces them to help send people with meritorious claims for asylum back to harm, and thus to betray that tradition, their moral conscience, and their professional ethics; to violate their oath to faithfully discharge their duty to carry out the immigration laws adopted by Congress, and to fear that they are being made complicit in violations of domestic and international law."

The union urges the court to side with the ACLU and invalidate the rule. 

Alisa Reznick is a senior field correspondent covering stories across southern Arizona and the borderlands for the Tucson bureau of KJZZ's Fronteras Desk.