In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court ruled to continue blocking the Trump administration from enforcing its asylum ban for illegal immigrants who cross the southern U.S. border. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the other four liberal justices in the ruling today, while new Justice Brett Kavanaugh and his three other conservative colleagues were part of the dissenting vote.
Federal law has allowed immigrants—whether they enter the country legally or illegally—to file an asylum claim in the United States. However, the administration issued a proclamation last month to deny asylum claims from those who illegally enter the country without going through an official point of entry.
Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union (ALCU) filed a lawsuit against the administration and U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco said Trump’s asylum ban couldn’t take effect because it conflicts with federal law since immigrants are allowed to request asylum despite entering the country illegally. In 2-1 ruling, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said the order should stay on hold until the results of the lawsuit challenging it.
The asylum ban was supposed to apply for 90 days to deter the surge of Central American immigrants illegally crossing the border and claim asylum once they are caught by U.S. border authorities, as well as reduce the massive backlog of asylum claims.
A person who is facing persecution in their home country can apply for asylum in the U.S. The right to seek asylum is protected by federal and international law.
It is a misdemeanor to cross the border illegally. If an individual has already been deported at least once, illegally crossing the border is a felony. However, seeking asylum at a port of entry isn’t considered a criminal offense.