Supreme Court Allows Barring of Asylum Seekers


Janell Wang, Staff Writer

As of Wednesday, Sept. 11, the Supreme Court gave an unsigned order allowing Trump to cut off a majority of asylum seekers from the U.S. The policy will require asylum seekers to first be denied asylum from other countries before being eligible to apply for the U.S. This essentially bars the migrants from Honduras, El Salvadore, Guatemala, and the rest of Central America, with the exception of victims of human trafficking and Mexican migrants, as they don’t need to cross another country to reach the U.S.

The Supreme Court’s actions “is just a temporary step,” said Lee Gelernt, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, “and we’re hopeful we’ll prevail at the end of the day. The lives of thousands of families are at stake.” 

The case will be taken back to the Supreme Court, but it is likely to take place months from now.

On the other hand, Noel J. Francisco, a solicitor general, argued that the policy was necessary as there has been 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.” The policy, if enacted, “screens out asylum seekers who declined to request protection at the first opportunity.”

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 419,831 family units crossing the Southwest border from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala have been arrested in this year alone, in contrast to only 4,312 Mexican family units. The Trump administration has been pushing Guatemala and Mexico to take more action in slowing down the migration. President Donald Trump even threatened tariffs if the countries did not cooperate. A deal had been made in July with Guatemala, but a plan was still needed. Mexico worked with the U.S. and sent security to the southern border to turn migrants away.

Two federal judges had opposite rulings on the lawfulness of the new plan. One of them was Judge Timothy J. Kelly of the Federal District Court in Washington, nominated by President Trump, who did not stop the administration’s actions. While at the other end is Judge Jon S. Tigar of the Federal Court in San Francisco who was nominated by President Barack Obama. Judge Tigar ruled that the plan did not follow the necessary legal procedures and he instructed the administration to have all applications accepted regardless of whether or not the migrant had sought asylum in other countries.

The American Civil Liberties Union along with the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Southern Poverty Law Center stated that the administration was rewriting a federal immigration law that was put in place in 1980. As of now, the new policy is still in place as the legal fight continues in court.

Photo courtesy of TRIBUNEINDIA.COM