Supreme Court rules some asylum seekers can be deported without hearing
By Mark Moore, NY Post, June 25, 2020 |
The US Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the Trump administration can fast-track deportations of some asylum seekers without first holding a federal court hearing — a win for the White House’s immigration policy.
The 7-2 decision makes people who are picked up at or near the border or who fail initial asylum screening eligible for expedited removal, a ruling that could affect thousands of immigrants.
The court said a federal law limiting an asylum applicant’s ability to appeal a decision that the person did not have a credible fear of persecution if returned home doesn’t violate the Constitution.
The Trump administration has proposed legislation that would make it harder for people to be given asylum, among other immigration restrictions, to preserve jobs in the US during the coronavirus pandemic.
The case involved a Sri Lankan farmer, Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam, who fled persecution as a member of the country’s Tamil minority but failed to persuade immigration officials that he was subject to harm if returned home.
He was arrested after crossing into the US from Mexico in January 2017 without documentation.
Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion that Thuraissigiam did not want a “simple release,” he wanted to vacate his “removal order” and remain “lawfully” in the US.
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“While aliens who have established connections in this country have due process rights in deportation proceedings, the court long ago held that Congress is entitled to set the conditions for an alien’s lawful entry into this country and that, as a result, an alien at the threshold of initial entry cannot claim any greater rights under the Due Process Clause,” Alito wrote.
He went on to write that appeals of decisions could put a strain on the courts.
“If courts must review credible-fear claims that in the eyes of immigration officials and an immigration judge do not meet the low bar for such claims, expedited removal would augment the burdens on that system,” he said.
Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented.
Sotomayor said the decision deprives asylum seekers “of any means to ensure the integrity of an expedited removal order, an order which, the Court just held, is not subject to any meaningful judicial oversight as to its substance.”
“Today’s decision handcuffs the Judiciary’s ability to perform its constitutional duty to safeguard individual liberty and dismantles a critical component of the separation of powers,” she continued.
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