Published: Mon, December 24, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Supreme Court upholds block on Trump’s asylum ban

Supreme Court upholds block on Trump’s asylum ban

Justice Roberts joined the court's other conservatives in that ruling. Along with conservative Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito and Neil M. Gorsuch, he voted to grant the appeal, lift the judge's order and allow Trump's new policy to be enforced. The legal fight on that could return to the Supreme Court.

Tigar was nominated for the federal bench by President Barack Obama. The chief justice issued a statement defending the judiciary's independence.

There were no opinions explaining either side's votes.

In the Trump administration's application for a stay pending appeal, Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco wrote that the guidelines Trump had attempted to put into place "are created to channel asylum seekers to ports of entry, where their claims can be processed in an orderly manner; deter unlawful and risky border crossings; and reduce the backlog of meritless asylum claims".

The immigration groups challenging the new rule urged the court to leave Tigar's order in place, telling the justices that even if there were a crisis - which, they said, there is not - it would be up to Congress, not the president and the executive branch, to make any changes to the USA asylum scheme.

Current federal law says that anyone can request asylum "whether or not at a designated port of arrival" and "irrespective of such alien's status".

A divided three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in San Francisco, refused to stay Tigar's order. "That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for".

The administration argued that those who cross into the country illegally could still apply for asylum but that their illegal passage would be a reason to deny it.

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"The Court has not yet fully considered the merits of this case", Justice Department spokesman Steven Stafford said.

"After World War II and the horrors experienced by refugees who were turned away by the United States and elsewhere, Congress joined the worldwide community in adopting standards for the treatment of those fleeing persecution", lawyers with the ACLU. wrote.

Lee Gelernt of the American Civil Liberties Union, representing those challenging the regulation, praised the court's decision to keep the stay in place.

In the first court ruling on the issue, Tigar said on November 19 that USA law allows immigrants to request asylum regardless of whether they entered the country legally.

"We are pleased the court refused to allow the administration to short-circuit the usual appellate process", he said.

The ACLU's brief has said the regulation was fundamentally unfair to those with legitimate asylum claims.

Nielsen made the announcement at a House Judiciary Committee hearing, telling the committee that the goal is to crack down on migrants falsely claiming asylum, only to be released into the USA and escape the radar of immigration officials.

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