Let us in or we'll sue. That seems to be the message in a new class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of a dozen Central American migrants who are part of the caravan now headed for the U.S. through Mexico. The suit filed late last week names President Trump, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice as defendants, among others. The plaintiffs claim the Trump Administration is violating their right to due process under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The President has deployed thousands of military troops to the border to stop the migrant caravan, and recently said asylum will not be granted to anyone who does not apply at a legal port of entry.
The lawsuit is reportedly being funded and filed through a civil rights law firm called Nexus Services. Gerald Treece, professor at South Texas college of Law-Houston, tells KTRH the suit served its initial purpose---getting attention. "You have a right to file suit against the President, the Congress, Homeland Security...but that doesn't mean it means anything, it's just filing a lawsuit," he says. "Wait ‘til the answer comes...the answer from the government will be swift."
Specifically, Treece doesn't believe anyone can claim Constitutional rights before arriving in the U.S. "If (the migrants) got here, they would be entitled to ask for political asylum, but the problem with that is they're not here," he says. "Get here, then let's talk. But if you're not here, there is no such right...it's totally up the President and Congress who gets into this country."
Ultimately, Treece sees the suit as more publicity stunt than legitimate. "This whole lawsuit is right at the edge of being frivolous, if it's not frivolous," he says. "(These actions) are sort of like explosive little missiles that people talk about for awhile, and then the stories fade away...this will be what happens here."