The Supreme Court ruled in a 7-to-2 decision on Thursday that the Trump administration could expedite deportation proceedings for certain asylum-seekers without introducing asylum cases to the federal courts.
The ruling applies to asylum-seekers who are picked up near the border and fail their initial screenings, making them eligible for expedited deportation, the Associated Press reported. The decision affirmed that the government can deport people who lack a credible asylum case without an immigration court ruling.
A typical asylum case does not mandate judicial review of the “credible fear” determination under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. Asylum applicants must first demonstrate a credible fear of persecution in order to pass screenings.
In the 2017 case of Department of Homeland Security v. Thuraissigiam, authorities determined that Sri Lankan national Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam did not demonstrate a credible fear, and he was unable to appeal his case to an immigration judge. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled at the time that denying an appeal prior to deportation was unconstitutional, Fox News reported.
The Supreme Court decision Thursday, however, overturned the lower court ruling. The scope of the ruling is expected to be limited, as this year only 30 asylum-seekers sought access to the courts after their claims were rejected, according to the Associated Press.
Typically, these expedited deportation cases apply to asylum-seekers picked up within 100 miles of the border and within 14 days of entry. The Trump administration seeks to expand that authority so that people picked up anywhere in the U.S. and within 2 years of entry can be deported quickly, NPR reported.
The Trump administration introduced a new rule in 2019 that migrants crossing the southern border would not be eligible for asylum unless they apply in the first safe country they enter. (RELATED: Few Asylum Seekers Have Legitimate Claims, Latest Data Indicate)
Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion, stating that the system allows the government appropriate authority in “weeding out patently meritless claims and expeditiously removing the aliens.” Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented.