The U.S. Supreme Court gave the Trump administration permission on Wednesday to enforce its toughest restriction on asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border. The restriction allows the government to refuse any asylum seeker who hasn’t already applied for asylum in another country after leaving their home to head for the U.S., according to The Washington Post.
In practice, the policy means that someone fleeing violence in Honduras or Guatemala must seek asylum in another country, like Mexico, before they will be allowed to seek asylum in the United States.
The restriction is currently working its way through the lower courts, but the hold on the policy has been lifted so that the government can enforce the rule as it makes its way back to the Supreme Court.
Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg were the only two judges to issue a disapproval for the ruling.
“Once again the Executive Branch has issued a rule that seeks to upend longstanding practices regarding refugees who seek shelter from persecution,” wrote Sotomayor. “Although this Nation has long kept its doors open to refugees — and although the stakes for asylum seekers could not be higher — the Government implemented its rule without first providing the public notice and inviting the public input generally required by law.”
The policy is the toughest one yet as part of Trump’s broader efforts to block people fleeing to the United States, as The Inquisitr previously reported. In July, the Trump administration announced that it was issuing the new policy as the number of immigrants coming from southern and central American countries was steadily increasing to record numbers. The order was immediately challenged by civil rights groups and a California judge ruled that the policy was likely in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act and federal laws.
A second judge ruled that the California decision went too far, while a third judge supported the original ruling.
Despite that, the Supreme Court ruled that the order could be implemented while the challenges work their way through the lower courts, which means that the Trump administration can severely limit the number of people who will be accepted as asylum seekers in the country.
Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco argued to the Supreme Court that the policy “alleviates a crushing burden on the U.S. asylum system by prioritizing asylum seekers who most need asylum in the United States.”
The ACLU argued that the policy puts asylum seekers, including unaccompanied minors, “at grave risk.”