Supreme Court Enforces New Trump Rule Denying Immigrants Asylum In US

The U.S. Supreme Court building at dusk on Capitol Hill in Washington

The US Supreme Court on Wednesday granted a request by President Donald Trump's administration to fully enforce a new rule that would curtail asylum applications by immigrants at the US-Mexico border, a key element of his hard-line immigration policies.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, dissenting from the Supreme Court's decision, wrote that: "Once again the Executive Branch has issued a rule that seeks to upend longstanding practices regarding refugees who seek shelter from persecution".

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals - long a liberal bastion that has been aggressively reshaped into a more moderate court by the Trump administration - handed the White House a partial victory in the case on Monday by ending the nationwide injunction.

"BIG United States Supreme Court WIN", Trump tweeted after the ruling.

The rule would bar nearly all migrants from applying for asylum at the southern border.

Curbing migration to the USA has been a key goal of his presidency and forms a major part of his bid for re-election in 2020.

Then began a back-and-forth between Tigar and the 9th Circuit, which scaled back the injunction so that the Trump rule was blocked in the border states of California and Arizona while in effect in Texas and New Mexico.

Tigar reinstated the injunction Monday evening after opponents of the asylum ban presented the court with new evidence.

Under the rule, migrants from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala will automatically be denied asylum in the US unless their applications for asylum in Mexico are rejected. "The lives of thousands of families are at stake", said Lee Gelernt, the American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who is representing immigrant advocacy groups in the case.

It's been documented that most of the people crossing the southern US border are Central Americans fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries. The rule would keep asylum protections for Mexican citizens.

Legal challenges against it continue but the ruling means for now it can be enforced nationwide. "The rule thus screens out asylum seekers who declined to request protection at their first opportunity", said Solicitor General Noel Francisco.

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

The administration's new policy says that those truly seeking asylum could ask for it in Mexico, which is deemed a safe country. "The current ban would eliminate virtually all asylum at the southern border, even at ports of entry, for everyone except Mexicans".

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