US Supreme Court authorises Trump to deny asylum to Central Americans

Cheryl Sanders
September 13, 2019

The administration has said that it wants to close the gap between an initial asylum screening that most people pass and a final decision on asylum that most people do not win.

Mexico could see asylum requests soar under the measure, which dramatically changes the rules for the thousands of Central Americans fleeing poverty and gang violence in their home countries in hopes of reaching the United States. "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". It represents the latest effort by Trump's administration to crack down on immigration, a signature issue during his presidency and 2020 re-election bid.

The rule would block almost all families and individuals from countries like El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala from entering the United States as asylum seekers after crossing through Mexico. But the ruling is likely to drive more Central American migrants to try to irregularly enter the USA with the help of smugglers or move them to apply for asylum in Mexico, which is already swamped with applications.

US Supreme Court authorises Trump to deny asylum to Central Americans

As the New York Times reported, the Supreme Court's ruling will allow the Trump administration to "enforce new rules that generally forbid asylum applications from migrants who have traveled through another country on their way to the United States without being denied asylum in that country".

On the nine-judge Supreme Court liberal-leaning Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented from the ruling.

Eight days after the rule went into effect in July, California-based US District Judge Jon Tigar issued a nationwide injunction blocking it. The 9th Circuit narrowed his order Tuesday with the Supreme Court decision following on Wednesday. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals narrowed Tigar's order so that it applied only in Arizona and California, states that are within the 9th Circuit.

"I did this so I didn't lose my life", she said.

The shift will impact virtually all of the thousands of families from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras who pass through Mexico on the perilous journey north. The rule would keep asylum protections for Mexican citizens.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has also slammed President Trump's proposed immigration policies and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement's crackdown on illegal immigrants. "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 legal challenge to the new policy has a brief but somewhat convoluted history.

The supreme court's order will apply temporarily.

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 unsafe journey from Central America to the United States".

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