· The US supreme court on Monday agreed to decide the legality of one of Donald Trump's hardline immigration policies.
· The policy has forced tens of thousands of people to wait in Mexico rather than entering the US, while their asylum claims are processed.
· The justices will not hear the case until 2021. If Joe Biden won the election on 3 November and rescind the policy, the case would become largely moot
· The high court on Monday also agreed to hear another Ninth Circuit decision.
Mexico (SK) — The US supreme court on Monday agreed to decide the legality of one of Donald Trump's hardline immigration policies. The outcome made illegal the President's decision to send asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their claims for protection are considered. The justices said they will not hear the case until 2021. If Joe Biden won the election on 3 November and rescind the policy, the case would become largely moot.
The Justice Department estimated in late February that there were 25,000 people waiting in Mexico for hearings in U.S. court. More than 60,000 asylum seekers were returned under the “Remain in Mexico” program. Immigration advocacy groups and 11 individuals who fled violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and were returned to Mexico after entering the US filed suit to challenge the legality of the policy.
The program, officially called Migrant Protection Protocols, remains in effect. The Supreme Court in March put the lower court's decision to block the policy on hold. Trump said “Remain in Mexico”, which went into effect in January 2019, reduced the flow of migrants from Central America. He has tried to reduce asylum claims through a series of policy and rule changes. The Trump administration has said that allowing thousands of asylum seekers across the border would swamp the US immigration system. The program is being blocked nationwide, because it violated treaty-based obligations not to send refugees back to dangerous countries.
The president did not have the authority acting on his own to defy Congress and transfer $2.5 billion in Pentagon funds to pay for building more border walls. And they ruled that the asylum laws did not allow border agents to turn away migrants who asked for protection. But in both cases, Trump's lawyers won orders from the Supreme Court. The order allowed his policies to go into effect while the legal disputes proceeded in lower courts.
Now that the administration has lost on both issues in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the justices said they will hear the appeals in Trump v. Sierra Club case regarding the border wall. Judy Rabinowitz, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer, said the Supreme Court should rule that the administration had been violating the asylum laws. “Asylum seekers face a serious danger every day this illegal and depraved policy is in place. The courts have repeatedly ruled against it, and the Supreme Court should as well”, she said in a statement.
The Sierra Club had sued to stop the expansion of the border. “The Trump administration has misused military funds for the construction of a wall that has caused lasting harm to the ecosystems and communities of the borderlands. The wall has damaged sacred Indigenous lands beyond repair, and destroyed wildlife and habitats along the border”, said Gloria Smith, a managing attorney at the Sierra Club. “The Supreme Court has been a long time in a row, and we look forward to making our case before the Supreme Court”.