Trump administration can begin enforcing new asylum restrictions, Supreme Court rules

Donald J. Trump

In December, a divided Supreme Court refused to let Trump start automatically rejecting all asylum claims by people who cross the southern border illegally.

The likelihood of a further tightening of the United States government's stranglehold on asylum seekers at the U.S. border comes as the number of Central Americans crossing into the country has already steadily declined in recent months. These policies upend our notion of the rule of law, our efforts to hold government accountable for its actions, and our tradition as a reliable guardian of the rights of the persecuted. Church World Service president and CEO John L McCullough said the Trump administration now had free reign to continue its campaign of "cruelty" by denying vulnerable populations the chance to seek asylum.

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

"In effect, the rule forbids nearly all Central Americans [.] to apply for asylum in the United States if they enter or seek to enter through the southern border, unless they were first denied asylum in Mexico or another third country", she wrote.

Under the new rules, migrants would be barred from seeking asylum in the USA if they have traveled through a third "safe country" en route to the American border, unless they also applied for asylum in that country.

Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said Thursday that Mexico's government doesn't agree with an "astonishing" US Supreme Court order that would block migrants from countries other than Mexico and Canada from applying for asylum at US borders. According to Refugee International, the ruling by the Supreme Court was a blow to the desperate needs of asylum seekers at the southern border. The effects of the new policy could fall heavily on Mexico, leaving the country with tens of thousands of poor and desperate migrants with no hope of getting into the U.S. Notably, the government moved to stay the newest order in both the district court and the Ninth Circuit.

The Supreme Court ruling is temporary but negates an earlier ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in late July.

"Lives will be lost".

"The lives of thousands of families are at stake", said Gelernt. The rule would keep asylum protections for Mexican citizens.

A reminder of President Trump's success in staffing the federal judiciary came September 11 when the U.S. Senate confirmed his 150th judicial nominee, marking what Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and Trump ally, described as a "historic milestone". "This rule will result in those fleeing fear and persecution to be turned away at our doorstep and will only exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in the region", they said in a statement.

The justices said the administration can apply the policy while a legal challenge goes forward.

The administration said the rule screens out asylum claims that are unlikely to succeed and "deters aliens without a genuine need for asylum from making the arduous and potentially risky journey from Central America to the United States".

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