Date
20 September 2019
The US Supreme Court has allowed the Trump administration to enforce a new rule that would curb asylum bids at the nation's southern border. Photo: Reuters
The US Supreme Court has allowed the Trump administration to enforce a new rule that would curb asylum bids at the nation's southern border. Photo: Reuters

US Supreme Court backs Trump on asylum crackdown

The US Supreme Court on Wednesday granted a request by the Trump administration to fully enforce a new rule that would curtail asylum applications by immigrants at the US-Mexico border, Reuters reports.

The court said the rule, which requires most immigrants who want asylum to first seek safe haven in a third country through which they traveled on their way to the United States, could go into effect as litigation challenging its legality continues.

Among the nine judges on the court, liberal Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented.

The court’s ruling hands a victory to US President Donald Trump at a time when much of his immigration agenda had been struck down by lower courts, Reuters noted.

Following the ruling, Trump tweeted: “BIG United States Supreme Court WIN for the Border on Asylum!”

The rule would bar almost all immigrants from applying for asylum at the southern border. It represents the latest effort by Trump’s administration to crack down on immigration, a signature issue during his presidency and 2020 re-election bid.

The American Civil Liberties Union and others who challenged the administration’s policy in federal court said it violates US immigration law, and accused the administration of failing to follow the correct legal process in issuing the rule, which was unveiled on July 15.

In her dissent, Sotomayor said that the government’s rule may be in significant tension with the asylum statute.

“It is especially concerning, moreover, that the rule the government promulgated topples decades of settled asylum practices and affects some of the most vulnerable people in the Western Hemisphere — without affording the public a chance to weigh in.”

Eight days after the rule went into effect in July, California-based US District Judge Jon Tigar issued a nationwide injunction blocking it.

Then began a back and forth between Tigar and the 9th Circuit, which scaled back the injunction so that the Trump rule was blocked in the border states of California and Arizona while in effect in Texas and New Mexico.

Tigar ruled to restore the nationwide ban on Monday, but the 9th Circuit scaled it back again on Tuesday night.

They were both trumped by Supreme Court, which will allow the asylum restriction to remain in place until the underlying legality of the rule is determined at trial.

“This is just a temporary step, and we’re hopeful we’ll prevail at the end of the day,” ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt said. “The lives of thousands of families are at stake.”

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