Supreme Court gives Trump administration victory over deportation powers

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday for the Trump administration in a key immigration case, determining that a federal law limiting an asylum-seeker’s ability to appeal a determination that he lacked a credible fear of persecution from his home country. violates the Constitution.

The ruling means that the administration can deport some asylum seekers without allowing them to present their case to a federal judge. Decision 7-2 applies to those who do not pass their initial asylum exams, making them eligible for rapid deportation.

In a decision in the case of the Department of Homeland Security v. Thuraissigiam, the court ruled that the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Accountability Act (IIRIRA), which prevents judicial review of the credible fear determination, does not violate the Suspension Clause of the Constitution, which protects habeas corpus privileges that allow the courts to determine whether a person should be released due to illegal detention.


“In this case, however, the defendant did not request to be released. Instead, he sought completely different relief: eviction from his’ deportation order ‘and’ a management order [the Department] to provide you with a new one. . . opportunity to apply for asylum and other forms of eviction, ” Judge Samuel Alito wrote in the court’s opinion, ruling that “such relief is beyond the scope of the customary habeas remedy.”

Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam, a Sri Lankan citizen, had crossed the southern border of the US. USA Without documentation in January 2017, he was detained less than 25 yards from the border and detained for expedited expulsion. According to court documents, he said he was afraid to return to Sri Lanka because he had once been kidnapped and beaten by a group of men, but did not know who they were or why they attacked him. At the time, he said he did not fear persecution because of his political beliefs, race, or any other protected characteristics.

As a result, an asylum officer determined that he had no “credible” fear of persecution. A supervisor agreed and signed an expulsion order, which was later confirmed by an immigration judge who had heard additional testimony. This prompted Thuraissigiam to file a habeas corpus petition for unlawful detention, which a federal district court denied. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision, ruling that the law was unconstitutional, but the Supreme Court reversed this with Thursday’s decision.

Alito’s opinion also rejected the argument that IIRIRA violated the Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause, citing an 1892 decision that ruled that “foreigners who have never been naturalized, nor acquired any domicile or residence within the The United States was not even admitted into the country in accordance with the law, “the decisions of administrative or executive officials who exercise the powers granted by Congress amount to due process.

The Supreme Court ruled that someone in Thuraissigiam’s position, who was detained within 25 yards of the border, should be treated in the same way as someone who was detained at the time they attempted to enter the country, and therefore, the 1892 decision applies.

The Trump administration seeks to expand authority for detainees anywhere in the U.S. USA And up to two years after arriving they can be deported quickly. On Tuesday, a federal appeals court dismissed the ruling of a trial judge who had blocked the expanded policy. Other legal issues remain to be resolved in the case.


In a dissenting opinion, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Judge Elena Kagan, argued that the ruling “deprives [asylum seekers] “by any means to guarantee the integrity of an expedited removal order, an order that the Court has just issued is not subject to any significant judicial oversight as to its content.”

“Today’s decision handcuffs the ability of the Judiciary to fulfill its constitutional duty to safeguard individual liberty and dismantles a critical component of the separation of powers,” continued Sotomayor.

Justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg agreed with the majority ruling, but in a concurring opinion drafted by Breyer, they made it clear that they believe the ruling only applies in this particular case.

“I agree that enforcing those limits in this particular case does not violate the constitutional mandate of the Suspension Clause,” Breyer wrote. “But we don’t need to and we shouldn’t go any further.”


Taking a broader approach, Breyer said, “it can raise a number of difficult questions in the context of immigration,” questioning what might happen in a habeas corpus case that is denied when a person is detained after living in the States. United for years, or if someone claims to be a naturalized citizen.

“Therefore, I would avoid making statements about the Suspension Clause that go beyond the principles necessary to decide this case,” Breyer wrote, “let alone come to conclusions about the Due Process Clause, a distinct constitutional provision that does not is directly in question here. “

Associated Press contributed to this report.