The US Supreme Court on Wednesday granted a request by President Donald Trump’s administration to fully enforce a new rule that would curtail asylum applications by immigrants at the US-Mexico border, a key element of his hardline immigration policies.
The court said the rule, which requires most immigrants who want asylum to first seek safe haven in a third country through which they traveled on their way to the United States, could go into effect as litigation challenging its legality continues.
Among the nine judges on the court, liberal Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented.
The court’s ruling handed a victory to Trump at a time when much of his immigration agenda had been struck down by lower courts. “BIG United States Supreme Court WIN for the Border on Asylum!” Trump said on Twitter.
The rule would bar almost all immigrants from applying for asylum at the southern border. It represents the latest effort by Trump’s administration to crack down on immigration.
The American Civil Liberties Union and others who challenged the administration’s policy in federal court said it violates US immigration law and accused the administration of failing to follow the correct legal process in issuing the rule, which was unveiled on July 15.
US Supreme Court said it will allow the asylum restriction to remain in place until the underlying legality of the rule is determined at trial.
“This is just a temporary step, and we’re hopeful we’ll prevail at the end of the day,” ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt said. “The lives of thousands of families are at stake.”
The Republican president’s administration issued the rule in an attempt to reduce the surging number of asylum claims primarily by Central American migrants who have crossed the US-Mexico border in large numbers during his presidency. The rule would keep asylum protections for Mexican citizens.