SUPREME COURT BLOCKS TRUMP’S IMMIGRATION BAN!
The Supreme Court on Friday denied the Trump administration’s request that it be allowed to immediately enforce a new policy of denying asylum to those who illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border, a change that lower courts declared possibly illegal.
Four justices — Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh — would have granted the administration’s request to let the order go into effect.
A divided three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, refused to stay Judge Tigar’s order. The majority opinion was written by Judge Jay S. Bybee, who was appointed by President George W. Bush.
“We are acutely aware of the crisis in the enforcement of our immigration laws,” Judge Bybee wrote. “The burden of dealing with these issues has fallen disproportionately on the courts of our circuit. And as much as we might be tempted to revise the law as we think wise, revision of the laws is left with the branch that enacted the laws in the first place — Congress.”
“Just as we may not, as we are often reminded, ‘legislate from the bench,’ neither may the Executive legislate from the Oval Office,” wrote Circuit Judge Jay S. Bybee, a conservative nominated by President George W. Bush, in the 2-to-1 decision.
President Trump’s Nov. 9 proclamation barred asylum for anyone who crosses the U.S.-Mexico border between official ports of entry, a reaction to recent caravans of migrants from Central America.
Solicitor General Noel Francisco told the Supreme Court that the policy had important goals — “channeling asylum seekers to ports of entry for orderly processing, discouraging dangerous and illegal entries between ports of entry, reducing the backlog of meritless asylum claims, and facilitating diplomatic negotiations.”
Lower courts blocked the initiative, ruling that a federal law plainly allowed asylum applications from people who had entered the country unlawfully.
“Any alien who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States,” the relevant federal statute says, may apply for asylum — “whether or not at a designated port of arrival.”
Judge Jon S. Tigar of the United States District Court in San Francisco issued a temporary restraining order blocking the initiative nationwide. “Whatever the scope of the president’s authority,” Judge Tigar wrote, “he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden.”
Mr. Trump attacked Judge Tigar, calling him an “Obama judge.” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. took issue with the characterization, saying that federal judges apply the law without regard to the policies of the presidents who appointed them.
The Trump administration then urged the Supreme Court to issue a stay of Judge Tigar’s ruling, saying the president was authorized to address border security by imposing the new policy.
“The United States has experienced a surge in the number of aliens who enter the country unlawfully from Mexico and, if apprehended, claim asylum and remain in the country while the claim is adjudicated, with little prospect of actually being granted that discretionary relief,” Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco told the justices.
“The president, finding that this development encourages dangerous and illegal border crossings and undermines the integrity of the nation’s borders, determined that a temporary suspension of entry by aliens who fail to present themselves for inspection at a port of entry along the southern border is in the nation’s interest,” Mr. Francisco wrote.
Lee Gelernt of the American Civil Liberties Union, representing those challenging the regulation, said in its brief to the court that the policy could not be justified.
“The administration’s quarrel here is really with the longstanding and fundamental policy decision Congress made four decades ago and consistently and explicitly reaffirmed over the years, even as it enacted other significant restrictions on asylum eligibility and procedures,” the ACLU’s brief states.
It also said it was fundamentally unfair to those with legitimate asylum claims.
Evidence in the case, it said, showed that those “fleeing persecution are desperate and often unsophisticated, have no understanding of the option to apply for asylum at a port, are forced by gangs and others to enter away from designated ports of entry, or cannot realistically travel to such ports because of danger and distance.”
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