In a 5-4 vote last week, the Supreme Court upheld a federal judge’s
order which prevents the Trump administration from barring
asylum claims from immigrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. Chief
Justice John Roberts and the court’s four liberal justices voted
for the lower-court ruling to remain, while newly appointed Justice Brett
Kavanaugh and the court’s three other conservatives sided with the
The administration’s policy was signed in November, temporarily banning
asylum seekers who fail to enter the United States outside of official
ports of entry. This move was a response to the Central American caravan
making its way to the southern U.S. border.
Soon after Trump signed the proclamation, the American Civil Liberties
Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against the administration soon after and
Federal District Judge Jon S. Tigar of California blocked the order. When
the case made its way to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the court agreed with the federal judge.
Tigar said the ban conflicts with federal law which allow immigrants to
apply for asylum no matter if they enter the country legally or illegally.
The Supreme Court reviewed the case and determined that the administration
had no plausible argument for the legality of the new policy.
Justice Department Solicitor General Noel Francisco informed the highest
court the proclamation was meant to guide asylum seekers to enter the
country through these official ports to be processed in an orderly manner,
reduce the backlog of “meritless” claims, and avoid the dangers
of illegal entries.
In October, a migrant caravan consisting of thousands of people from Honduras
and other Central American countries spent over a month traveling north
toward the United States, reigniting a national debate about asylum seekers.
For more information about seeking asylum in California,
contact our Santa Barbara immigration attorneys at
Appel & Morse and schedule a free consultation today.