Sep 11, 2019

Supreme Court to allow Trump administration to enforce asylum restrictions

Photo: Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Wednesday lifted a district court's block on a Trump administration rule that would prevent almost all Central American migrants from applying for asylum in the U.S.

The big picture: The Trump rule, first introduced in July, forces migrants fleeing their home countries to apply for asylum in one of the first countries they pass through, or face ineligibility for asylum once they reach the southern border of the U.S. It has faced numerous legal challenges and was twice temporarily blocked by a California judge.

  • The rule is among the toughest and broadest immigration restrictions imposed by the Trump administration and will be now enforced nationally against asylum seekers as the legal case against it continues.
  • The number of Central American families crossing the southern border has reached crisis levels as they're driven from horrors and poverty at home toward a broken immigration system in the U.S., Axios' Stef Kight reported earlier this year.
  • There's no single reason for the border crisis, but droughts, political instability, a booming U.S. economy, technological advancements and asylum backlogs all play a role.

What they're saying: Justice Sonia Sotomayor — one of 2 dissenters along with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — argues in her opinion: "Once again, the Executive Branch has issued a rule that seeks to upend longstanding practices regarding refugees who seek shelter from persecution."

  • Trump tweeted in response to the ruling: "BIG United States Supreme Court WIN for the Border on Asylum!"

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

Go deeper: Why the migrant crisis is happening now

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Court ruling again allows Trump asylum restrictions in Texas and New Mexico

The exterior of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked — for the second timea nationwide injunction on the Trump administration's third-country asylum rule, which bars migrants from asylum in the U.S. if they did not first apply for protection in a country they travelled through.

Why it matters: This new ruling reintroduces the status quo that was in play after the court's first decision to block the nationwide injunction, which said it could only be applied within the Ninth Circuit's states of California and Arizona. That means that this decision will once again block — at least temporarily — most Central Americans who cross into the U.S., legally or illegally, in New Mexico or Texas from asylum.

Keep ReadingArrowSep 11, 2019

Trump administration reaches asylum deal with El Salvador

Migrants being led out of the National Institute of Migration in downtown Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration signed an asylum agreement with El Salvador on Friday, which could force Central American migrants who pass through the country to first seek asylum there or be sent back to the country once they reach the U.S..

Why it matters: The new agreement is the latest attempt to curtail Central Americans seeking asylum in the U.S.

Go deeperArrowSep 20, 2019

Trump lowering the number of refugees permitted into U.S. to 18,000

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump administration is proposing to cut the number of refugees permitted to resettle in the U.S. next year to just 18,000 — down from a record-low of 30,000 last year, according to a State Department press release on Thursday.

Why it matters: The administration also plans to prioritize refugees who have been persecuted for religious beliefs, Iraqis who have helped the U.S. overseas, and legitimate refugees from Northern Triangle countries, per the release. This would be the fourth time the Trump administration lowered the refugee cap, and it had reportedly discussed lowering it to zero. There are more displaced people in the world today than at any point since World War II, according to the United Nations.

Go deeperArrowSep 26, 2019