Supreme Court Allows Enforcement of New Trump Asylum Restrictions

The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., November 13, 2018 (Al Drago/Reuters)

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled in favor of new Trump administration rules that bar migrants from seeking asylum in the U.S. if they have traveled through a third country and failed to seek asylum there.

The high court lifted a lower court’s stay of the restrictions, saying that the policy will be allowed to go into effect even as legal challenges against it progress.

The Trump administration first announced the new rules July 15 and was met with swift legal challenges from immigrant advocacy groups.

Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg opposed the majority’s decision.

“Once again the Executive Branch has issued a rule that seeks to upend longstanding practices regarding refugees who seek shelter from persecution,” Sotomayor stated. “Although this Nation has long kept its doors open to refugees — and although the stakes for asylum seekers could not be higher — the Government implemented its rule without first providing the public notice and inviting the public input generally required by law.”

The policy is intended to address“an unprecedented surge in the number of aliens who enter the country unlawfully across the southern border and, if apprehended, claim asylum and remain in the country while their claims are adjudicated,” Solicitor General Noel Francisco wrote in a Supreme Court brief.

The southern border has been overwhelmed this year with asylum applicants, many fleeing violence in Central America. More than 436,000 pending cases involve an application for asylum, according to the Justice Department, highlighting the depth of the backlog.

However, acting DHS secretary Kevin McAleenan said last month that border crossings have declined as the warmer months, when more migrants attempt the journey north, come to a close. Apprehensions have dropped 43 percent since May, when arrests between ports of entry at the southern border increased for the fourth straight month to 132,887.

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