Nora v. Wolf

En español aquí

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, No. 1:20-cv-00993-ABJ

What is the government doing and why are we challenging it?

We are challenging the entire Migration Protection Protocols (MPP) program in Innovation Law Lab v. Wolf. A federal appeals court has ruled that the MPP is illegal, but that decision has been put on hold pending the administration’s request for Supreme Court review.

This new lawsuit filed in April 2020 challenges the government’s expansion of MPP to Tamaulipas, a Mexican state that borders southwest Texas, and seeks to protect a specific named group of 26 asylum seekers who have been forcibly returned there. Tamaulipas is experiencing such high levels of violence that the U.S. State Department has issued a Level 4 “Do Not Travel” advisory for this state. The U.S. government knew about the conditions there when it made the decision to expand the program, but it did so anyway with callous disregard for the consequences. The government’s own rules for MPP provide that asylum seekers will not be returned to Mexico if they face a substantial risk of persecution or torture there. By sending the plaintiffs to Tamaulipas, the government is violating its own rules.  

What’s the status of this case?

We have filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to stop the government from forcing our clients to remain in Tamaulipas.

Whose life is at stake?

The plaintiffs are a group of 12 adults and their 14 children who fled violence and persecution in their home countries and sought refuge in the United States. They are instead trapped in one of the most dangerous places in the world, living in perilous conditions and afraid for their lives. Our plaintiff “Nora,” from El Salvador, was repeatedly raped in Tamaulipas in front of her three year old son. Her attackers threatened to kill the boy if she resisted. Under the government’s own standard, Nora and her son should be allowed to enter the United States while her asylum case goes forward. Instead, she and her little boy were returned to Tamaulipas, where they are living traumatized and in terror.

Who’s involved?

The Center for Gender & Refugee Studies is counsel along with the American Civil Liberties Union and Public Citizen.

How can you help?

Visit our Action Page to learn more about how you can support asylum seekers. You can support CGRS’s vital work on cases like this one by making a donation.

Need more information?

Contact Brianna Krong, Communications and Advocacy Coordinator, at

Resources for Advocates

CGRS has produced several resources to support attorneys representing clients impacted by MPP and other policies affecting asylum seekers at the border. Click here to request materials relevant to your client’s case.

Legal Documents

Nora v. Wolf - Complaint, April 16, 2020

Press Releases

Groups File Challenge to Policy Trapping Asylum Seekers in Dangerous Border State | April 16, 2020