On Wednesday, the Supreme Court issued an order that temporarily allows the Trump administration to enforce rules that generally forbid asylum applications by migrants who have travel through another country en route to the U.S., without first being denied asylum in that country. This rule is primarily aimed at Central Americans who travel through Mexico to reach the U.S.
Stephen Vladeck is professor of law at the University of Texas at Austin. He says lower courts have gone “back and forth” on the administration’s asylum rules, with one California trial court ruling the policy could not be implemented nationwide. A federal appeals court had limited the jurisdiction of that ruling to the 9th Circuit, which includes California. This week, the trial judge objected to that narrowing of jurisdiction. The Supreme Court’s ruling puts a temporary end to the jurisdictional dispute.
“The order we got last night from the Supreme Court said that it was allowing this policy to go into effect by issuing a stay of the district court’s injunctions, but did nothing to tell us why,” Vladeck says.
The Supreme Court often bases orders of the kind issued this week on its judgment of how much harm a rule or action would cause or prevent, Vladeck says. Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who dissented, likely did so because they believed implementing the asylum policy would do harm to those seeking protection in the U.S., he says.
Vladeck says that those challenging the administration’s asylum policy could still prevail when the case returns to court.
“The result of last night’s ruling by the Supreme Court is that until and unless that happens, the Trump administration is going to be allowed to put this policy into full effect,” Vladeck says.
Vladeck says the rule prevents asylum-seekers who have a valid claim from having the chance to make it in the U.S.
“Even the asylum applicants that, as a matter of federal statute, are entitled to not just pursue asylum, but receive asylum, will be cut out, and the door will be closed on them in the first place,” Vladeck says.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.