The Supreme Court decision to allow enforcement of new asylum restrictions nationwide is the Trump administration’s widest-reaching policy victory yet on reducing migration from Central America, but its immediate impact at the southern border is unclear, the Wall Street Journal reports. Migrants who cross the border illegally or come to legal border crossings will still be allowed to ask for asylum, the Department of Homeland Security said, though the outcome of their requests may ultimately be predetermined if the rule survives ongoing challenges. Under the new rule, migrants who pass through another country must seek asylum there rather than at the U.S. border, where they are ineligible to do so. The policy cuts off the chance to win asylum for immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras, the vast majority of people crossing the border.
A Homeland Security official said newly arriving migrants are subject to a process known as “expedited removal,” under which migrants can be deported without a court hearing, but would-be asylum seekers can still ask for an interview with an asylum officer and even ask for a judge to hear their cases. Randy Capps of the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, said the new rule and swift deportations of ineligible asylum seekers would deter many more people in Central America from attempting to make the journey north. “Purely from an enforcement point of view, if you deport people back to their home countries quickly, that will have a big impact because people in their home communities will say, ‘Oh, it didn’t work, they didn’t get in,’” he said. DHS may face hurdles in trying to detain and quickly deport thousands of newly arriving migrants: Immigration and Customs Enforcement doesn’t have enough jail space to house safely migrants waiting for deportation.