Supreme Court Rules Asylum Seekers Cannot Challenge Deportation in Court

Supreme Court Rules Asylum Seekers Cannot Challenge Deportation in Court

The Supreme Court has ruled that asylum seekers can be deported without judicial review of their cases.

On Thursday, The New York Times reported that the court determined that if an asylum seeker's claims are initially denied by immigration officials, they will have no right to challenge that decision in federal court. Under this new ruling, authorities can fast-track the deportation of people who they believe do not have a "credible fear" of persecution in their country of origin.

The 7-2 decision pertained to the case of Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam, a Sri Lankan farmer who is part of the country's long-persecuted Tamil minority. He said that he faced harm if he returned, as he had been abducted, arrested, and beaten, which NPR noted fit "a pattern of similar violence carried out against Tamils" in Sri Lanka.

In response to the rejection of his asylum claim, Thuraissigiam filed a habeas corpus petition. However, the Supreme Court ruled that he was not able to invoke the Constitutional guarantee against unlawful detention, with Justice Samuel Alito writing that the protection was intended for those seeking release, not as a way to get into federal court. Elsewhere in the majority decision, Alito wrote that due process doesn't automatically apply to immigrants who have not been legally admitted.

In the dissenting opinion were Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, who wrote that it was wrong to deny constitutional protections to asylum seekers and argued that it "increases the risk of erroneous immigration decisions." Echoing this was the ACLU's Lee Gelernt, who said said the ruling will result in "some people facing flawed deportation orders can be forcibly removed with no judicial oversight, putting their lives in grave danger."

The decision is an unfortunate win for the Trump administration who have argued that the asylum system is abused. They are also seeking to apply a rule that allows the immediate deportation of undocumented immigrants detained within 14 days of entry and within 100 miles of the border to anywhere in the U.S. within two years of entry.

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