WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Thursday awarded the Trump administration a victory over the president’s distinctive immigration issue, ruling that some asylum seekers in the United States can be deported without additional court hearings.
In a 7-2 vote, the court said that people who do not present a valid asylum case in their initial evaluations, by credibly claiming that they fear persecution at home, can be expedited for deportation and cannot contest that decision in federal court. .
The ruling was a defeat for Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam of Sri Lanka, who was detained by federal agents 25 yards north of the United States-Mexico border. He said that, as a member of the Tamil minority in his home country, he faced damage if he was returned and had once been kidnapped and beaten, although he said he was not sure why he was assaulted.
When his asylum application was rejected, he sought help in federal court by filing a petition for habeas corpus, invoking the Constitution’s guarantee against illegal detention. But the Supreme Court said the option was not open to him.
Writing for the majority, Judge Samuel Alito said the relief form is intended for those seeking release from detention, not as a way to enter federal court. And other constitutional due process rights do not automatically apply to migrants simply because they stepped on American soil and have not been legally admitted.
In their dissent, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan said the court was wrong to rule that constitutional protections do not apply to asylum seekers “who challenge the procedures used to determine whether they can seek refuge in this country or whether they can be cast to an unknown destination. ” The decision “increases the risk of wrong immigration decisions.”
ACLU’s Lee Gelernt, who represented the Sri Lankan man, said the ruling “does not comply with the fundamental principle of the Constitution that persons deprived of liberty have their day in court, and this includes applicants for asylum”. As a result, he said, “some people facing faulty deportation orders can be forcibly expelled without judicial supervision, putting their lives in serious danger.”
The Trump administration has said that the U.S. asylum system is being abused and that most claims are without merit.
In the past, undocumented immigrants could be subject to rapid deportation, without hearings in federal courts, if they were detained within 14 days of entry and within 100 miles of the border. The administration wants to apply that rule to people anywhere in the US within two years of entering the country.