Supreme Court Rules Trump Can Deny Asylum

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Immigration court on Varick Street, NY. Photo by Megan Hadley

The Trump administration can deny asylum to Central Americans who cross through to the U.S. under a Supreme Court order, giving new life to White House efforts to deter a flood of immigrants seeking refuge at the southern border, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The court’s action effectively allowed the administration to enforce its asylum restrictions while legal challenges continue, a process that could last a year. The high court’s order stayed lower-court injunctions that barred the administration’s plans. One of those injunctions was issued this week by a federal judge in California.

The policy, one of several measures the Trump administration has taken to deter immigration from Latin America, demands that refugees seek asylum in a safe country they enter before reaching the U.S. The rules effectively cut off most asylum claims by people coming from El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras.

The high court order, issued over two dissents. didn’t provide any legal rationale. It  isn’t a ruling on the merits of the case.

In a 5-4 vote in December, the justices declined to lift lower-court orders blocking a less severe Trump administration policy that denied asylum eligibility to applicants who didn’t present themselves at an official port of entry. It wasn’t clear how the court distinguished between the two cases.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, dissented.

“Although this nation has long kept its doors open to refugees—and although the stakes for asylum seekers couldn’t be higher—the Government implemented its rule without first providing the public notice and inviting the public input generally required by law,” Sotomayor wrote.

In papers filed with the Supreme Court, the administration argued that the rule was necessary to ease the “crushing burden” a surge of asylum seekers has imposed on the immigration system.

See also: Appeals Court Restores Status of Trump Asylum Policy

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