In a major win for the Trump administration, the Supreme Court issued an order late Wednesday ending all injunctions that had blocked the White House's ban on asylum for anyone trying to enter the U.S.by traveling through a third country, such as Mexico, without seeking protection there.
"In effect, the rule forbids nearly all Central Americans [.] to apply for asylum in the United States if they enter or seek to enter through the southern border, unless they were first denied asylum in Mexico or another third country", she wrote.
The court said the rule, which requires most immigrants who want asylum to first seek safe haven in a third country through which they traveled on their way to the United States, could go into effect as litigation challenging its legality continues.
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented, writing that court's decision disregards "longstanding practices regarding refugees who seek shelter from persecution".
The court's ruling handed a victory to Trump at a time when much of his immigration agenda had been struck down by lower courts.
Under the new rules, migrants would be barred from seeking asylum in the U.S. if they have traveled through a third "safe country" en route to the American border, unless they also applied for asylum in that country.
U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar had blocked the Trump administration's approach.
Trump celebrated the decision on Twitter, praising the "BIG United States Supreme Court WIN for the Border on Asylum!". "The lives of thousands of families are at stake", said Lee Gelernt, the American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who is representing immigrant advocacy groups in the case. Bifurcated asylum rules would force it to "redesign its workshops and templates".
The policy is among a host of measures Trump has taken in a bid to stem the flow of Central American migrants trying to cross into the United States from Mexico and request asylum. They accused the administration of pursuing an "asylum ban" and jeopardizing the safety and security of migrants fleeing persecution and seeking safety in the United States.
The Supreme Court in December rebuffed a bid by the administration to implement a separate policy prohibiting asylum for people crossing the U.S.
The Supreme Court ruling is temporary but negates an earlier ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in late July. "The rule thus screens out asylum seekers who declined to request protection at their first opportunity", said Solicitor General Noel Francisco.