The High Court on Wednesday sided with President Trump’s controversial bid to deny entry to Central American refugees seeking asylum in the United States.
In a late evening ruling, U.S. Supreme Court justices undid a lower court order that had blocked the Trump administration’s new policy in several states along the southern border.
Under the policy, asylum would automatically be denied to anyone who passes through another nation without first seeking that country’s protection
“BIG United States Supreme Court WIN for the Border on Asylum!” Trump tweeted shortly after the ruling.
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented from the ruling.
“Once again, the Executive Branch has issued a rule that seeks to upend longstanding practices regarding refugees who seek shelter from persecution,” Sotomayor wrote.
“Although this Nation has long kept its door open to refugees — and although the stakes for asylum seekers could not be higher — the Government implemented its rule without first providing the public notice and inviting the public input generally required.”
Meanwhile, a lawsuit to stop the new policy continues to work its way through the lower courts. Until that is resolved, the Supreme Court ruling allows the administration to impose the new policy everywhere.
The ruling, which shifts decades of American foreign policy, means that refugees from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador — most of whom are fleeing violence and poverty — cannot seek asylum in the U.S. if they didn’t first ask for it in Mexico.
The White House argued the rule was necessary to screen out “asylum seekers who declined to request protection at the first opportunity.”
Immigration courts now face a backlog of 436,000 asylum requests, according to government estimates.
After the Trump administration announced the new policy in July, a federal judge in California blocked its enforcement, ruling that it would violate existing immigration law and was improperly rushed into effect.
The Justice Department took the case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, but also asked the Supreme Court to let the government carry out the restrictions while the case is on appeal.