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CBP's metering policy is confirmed through litigation

  1. Date Announced

    April 27, 2018

    Previously widely reported, CBP's "Metering Guidance" is uncovered in the Al Otro Lado v. McAleenan litigation (Case 3:17-cv-02366-BAS-KSC). The memo indicated that "to facilitate orderly processing and maintain the security of the port and safe and sanitary conditions for the traveling public, Field Office Directors (DFOs) may elect to meter the flow of travelers at the land border to take into account the port's processing capacity." The memo further states that: "DFOs may not create a line specifically for asylum-seekers only, but could, for instance, create lines based on legitimate operational needs, such as lines for those with appropriate travel documents and those without such documents." [ID# 37]

    View Policy Document
  2. Effective Date of Change

    June 1, 2018
  3. Subsequent Action

    November 19, 2019

    On November 19, 2019, the court in Al Otro Lado, Inc. v. Wolf issued a preliminary injunction and provisionally certified a class consisting of “all non-Mexican asylum seekers who were unable to make a direct asylum claim at a U.S. [port of entry] before July 16, 2019 because of the U.S. Government’s metering policy, and who continue to seek access to the U.S. asylum process.” The court blocked Defendants from applying the Asylum Ban to members of the provisional class and ordered that Defendants apply pre-Asylum Ban practices for processing the asylum applications of class members. As of Nov. 30, 2020, the government's appeal is pending a decision at the Ninth Circuit following oral argument on July 10, 2020 (Case No. 19-56417).

    **Litigation is listed for informational purposes and is not comprehensive. For the current status of legal challenges, check other sources.**

    Al Otro Lado v. Wolf Order
  4. Subsequent Action

    August 7, 2020

    A California federal court certifies class consisting of asylum seekers turned away ("metered") from ports of entry by CBP officers.

    Al Otro Lado et. al. v. Wolf et. al. 3:17-cv-02366
Agencies Affected: CBP USCIS EOIR

Prior Policies

  • Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides that a person who "arrives" at the border "whether or not at a designated point of arrival ... may apply for asylum."

    8 U.S.C. § 1158 - Asylum

Subsequent Actions


Amnesty International: Explanation of border turnbacks

Pushbacks of asylum-seekers are both illegal under US law and violate US obligations under international refugee law.

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Challenging Customs and Border Protection's Unlawful Practice of Turning Away Asylum Seekers

Class counsel prepared a Frequently Asked Questions resource to address common questions about the court’s order, class membership, and implementation. 

Go to article

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