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Supreme Court Just Helped Trump Seal His 2020 Win

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The Supreme Court ruled Thursday for the Trump administration in a key immigration case, that makes it more difficult for illegal immigrants to simply claim asylum.

The ruling limits an applicant’s ability to appeal a determination that an asylum claim lacks credible fear of persecution from his home country.

This means the administration can deport some people wrongly taking advantage of the asylum process without wasting more U.S. taxpayer dollars. The 7-2 ruling applies to those who fail their initial asylum screenings, making them eligible for quick deportation.

In a decision in the case of Dept. of Homeland Security v. Thuraissigiam, the court ruled that the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) – which prevents judicial review of the credible fear determination – does not violate the Constitution’s Suspension Clause, which protects habeas corpus privileges that allow courts to determine if a person should be released due to unlawful detention.

“In this case, however, respondent did not ask to be released. Instead, he sought entirely different relief: vacatur of his ‘removal order’ and ‘an order directing [the Department] to provide him with a new . . . opportunity to apply for asylum and other relief from removal,’” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the court’s opinion, ruling “that relief falls outside the scope of the common-law habeas writ.”

Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam, a Sri Lankan national, had crossed the southern U.S. border without documentation in January 2017, was apprehended within 25 yards of the border, and detained for expedited removal.

According to court documents, he said he was afraid of returning to Sri Lanka because he claims he had once been abducted and beaten by a group of men, but did not know who they were or why they attacked him. At the time, he said that he did not fear persecution due to his political beliefs, race, or any other protected characteristics.

As a result, an asylum officer determined that he did not have the requisite “credible” fear of persecution.

Alito’s opinion also shot down the argument that the IIRIRA violated the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, citing an 1892 decision that ruled that for “foreigners who have never been naturalized, nor acquired any domicil or residence within the United States, nor even been admitted into the country pursuant to law,” decisions of administrative or executive officers exercising powers granted by Congress amount to due process.

The Supreme Court ruled that someone in Thuraissigiam’s position – being apprehended within 25 yards of the border – should be treated the same as someone who was taken into custody at the time they attempted to enter the country, and therefore the 1892 decision applies.

The Trump administration is seeking to add further security to the immigration process by expanding authority so that people detained anywhere in the U.S. and up to two years after they got here could be quickly deported.

On Tuesday, a federal appeals court threw out a trial judge’s ruling that had blocked the expanded policy. Other legal issues remain to be resolved in the case.

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