The Supreme Court sided with President Donald Trump 7-2 on Thursday in a case over a federal law that substantially limits the role that courts can play in reviewing deportation decisions in certain cases under a well-known simplified process. as “accelerated removal”.
The opinion was written by Judge Samuel Alito, and was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Judges Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. Justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote separate opinions that coincided with the trial. Judges Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan disagreed.
The ruling noted that the superior court did not consider the law to be unconstitutional in the specific case in question, leaving open the possibility that a future challenge could be more successful.
The case was brought by Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam, a Sri Lankan asylum seeker who belongs to the Tamil minority ethnic group.
Thuraissigiam, who was detained by a border patrol agent in 2017 during an attempt to cross into the U.S. USA On the southern border, he said he had been “abducted and brutally beaten by a gang of men” before fleeing. Immigrants can avoid accelerated expulsion if they can demonstrate that they have a “credible fear” of persecution.
Two asylum officers and an immigration judge rejected Thuraissigiam’s credible fear claims, and a federal district court declined to review the matter based on the accelerated expulsion law.
But that decision was overturned on appeal by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The US, which reasoned that the law was unconstitutional as it applied to Thuraissigiam under the Suspension Clause of the Constitution, which limits the government’s ability to restrict the writ of habeas corpus. The appeals court also found that the law violated Thuraissigiam’s right to due process.
The Trump administration, which has pursued an aggressive anti-immigration agenda, asked the Supreme Court to overturn that decision.
Alito wrote that Thuraissigiam’s argument “fails because it would extend the writ of habeas corpus beyond its reach” when the Constitution was drafted and ratified. “
“Habeas has traditionally been a means of securing release from unlawful detention, but the defendant invokes the court order to achieve a completely different purpose, namely to obtain an additional administrative review of his asylum application and ultimately to obtain authorization to stay in this country, “said Alito. wrote
In due process, Alito said constitutional law applies to “foreigners who have established connections in this country.” But, he wrote, Thuraissigiam “attempted to enter the country illegally and was detained just 25 yards from the border.”
“Therefore, you have no right to procedural rights other than those granted by law,” Alito wrote.
Breyer, accompanied by Ginsburg, wrote in his agreement that he agreed that the Suspension Clause was not violated “in this particular case.”
“But we don’t need and we shouldn’t go any further,” he wrote.
Sotomayor, in his dissent united by Kagan, said that the majority decision “handcuffs the ability of the Judiciary to fulfill its constitutional duty to safeguard individual freedom and dismantles a critical component of the separation of powers.”
“It will leave significant exercises of executive discretion uncontrolled in the same circumstance where the order’s protections have been strongest,” he wrote.
American Civil Liberties Union attorney Lee Gelernt, who represented Thuraissigiam on the Supreme Court, said in a statement that the ruling “does not comply with the fundamental principle of the Constitution that persons deprived of liberty have their day in the court, and this includes asylum seekers. ”
“This decision means that some people facing faulty deportation orders can be forcibly removed without judicial oversight, putting their lives in grave danger,” said Gelernt.
Representatives of the Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The case is the Department of Homeland Security v. Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam, No. 19-161.