Vt. joins opposition to Trump asylum eligibility rule

MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) Vermont is joining a group of other states in supporting a lawsuit against the Trump administration's efforts to bar immigrants who cross the border illegally from eligibility for asylum.

The Vermont attorney general's office says the amicus brief supports an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit filed earlier this month. The ACLU says federal law protects immigrants who are physically present in the country -- regardless of whether they entered legally -- to apply for asylum.

"This country has long been a refuge for those fleeing from dangerous and violent situations," Attorney General T.J. Donovan, D-Vermont, said in a statement. "People seeking asylum here are entitled to the opportunity to ask for help. The Final Interim Rule is contrary to law."

Trump officials argue that the president has "the broad authority to suspend or restrict the entry of aliens" into the U.S. if he deems it's in the national interest.