US Supreme Court rejects Trump request to enforce asylum ban

Visitors stand outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on Feb. 27 2018. Bloomberg

In June, the Supreme Court backed Trump in another major immigration-related case when the justices in a 5-4 ruling endorsed the legality of the Republican president's travel ban on people from several Muslim-majority nations.

The administration had also complained that the nationwide order preventing the policy from taking effect was too broad. The USCIS also says that one must be physically present in the US or enter at an official port of entry in order to apply for asylum status.

Last week the Trump administration went to the Supreme Court, asking the justices to put Tigar's order on hold while it appeals his ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and, if necessary, the Supreme Court.

How did the justices vote?

New Justice Brett Kavanaugh and three other conservative justices sided with the administration. The administration may eventually, as Trump predicted, win in the Supreme Court, but this round went to the challengers, and the eventual fate of the case nearly certainly lies in Roberts' hands. Today the justices turned down the government's request, which means that the government will not be able to enforce its new policy on asylum while the government appeals to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and, if it comes to that, the Supreme Court.

Lyle Denniston has been writing about the Supreme Court since 1958.

Trump has said the proclamation was in response to caravans of Central American migrants making their way to the USA border through Mexico. "We will continue to defend the Executive Branch's lawful authority over the discretionary benefit of asylum".

Trump attacked Tigar, calling him an "Obama judge".

A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit earlier this month kept in place a district court judge's decision that stopped the policy's implementation, saying it was simply a way around specific language in federal law that allows all who enter the United States, regardless of where, to apply for asylum.

The President's comments led to an extraordinary response from the normally reticent Justice Roberts, who defended the independence of the federal judiciary and wrote in a public response to Mr Trump on November 21: "We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges".

Mr Trump's proclamation stated that mass migration on the border had precipitated a crisis and he was acting to protect the United States national interest.

The administration hopes the long waiting time for a ruling on asylum applications, and being forced to stay in Mexico, will deter others from making the long trip to the border from their home countries.

The US president has wide-ranging powers to determine US national security policy, but American asylum laws allow people fleeing persecution and violence in their homelands the ability to seek sanctuary in the United States.

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