In a decision issued Wednesday, the Supreme Court of the United States granted  a request by the Government to allow the Trump administration to enforce its new rule that will prevent most Central Americans from seeking asylum in the U.S.  The rule allows the United States to bar immigrants from applying for asylum if they “fail to apply for protection in at least one third country through which they transit en route to the United States.” The new asylum policy was previously blocked by a lower court ruling, as U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar reasoned the rule “is likely invalid because it is inconsistent with the existing asylum laws,” and that Government effected a serious change in immigration policy without going through proper rule-making procedures.

Justice Sonya Sotomayor’s dissent, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, echoed the ruling, stating, “Given the District Court’s thorough analysis, and the serious questions that court raised, I do not believe the Government has carried its “especially heavy” burden.” She said that the rule “seeks to upend longstanding practices regarding refugees who seek shelter from prosecution” and “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.”

The ACLU called the changes a “blatant end-run around Congress” and a “tectonic change to U.S. asylum law” that should not be allowed without a full briefing on its merits. The issue is likely to appear again before the Supreme Court once the issues in the lower courts are settled. ACLU lawyer Lee Gelert stated that they will “continue challenging the ban on the merits, because it puts countless lives at risk[.]”

 

 

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