The Supreme Court on Thursday delivered a win for President Donald Trump’s immigration policy, affirming the government’s ability to expedite removal of asylum seekers whose applications have been denied.
The case involves a Sri Lankan man who was arrested on the U.S.-Mexico border while seeking asylum in 2017. After an immigration officer said he failed to show “credible fear of persecution” if forced to return home, the man petitioned a federal court for habeas corpus, the ability to have a judge review someone’s detention.
In a 7-2 decision, the court said the Sri Lankan asylum seeker — Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam — is ineligible to challenge his deportation under both federal law and the Constitution.
“Habeas has traditionally been a means to secure release from unlawful detention, but respondent invokes the writ to achieve an entirely different end, namely, to obtain additional administrative review of his asylum claim and ultimately to obtain authorization to stay in this country,” Justice Samuel Alito writes in the majority opinion, joined by the court’s four other conservatives.
“Respondent attempted to enter the country illegally and was apprehended just 25 yards from the border. He therefore has no entitlement to procedural rights other than those afforded by statute,” Alito added.
The decision is a boost for Trump, who has tried to crack down on a flood of asylum cases in the legal system, on the heels of two high-profile losses at the court last week in cases on LGBTQ rights and DACA.
It’s a major setback for immigrant advocates and the thousands of migrants seeking refuge in the U.S., hoping for a second chance after having their claims rejected.