US Supreme Court rejects Trump request to enforce asylum ban

The Supreme Court in June backed Trump in another major immigration-related case when the justices in a 5-4 ruling endorsed the legality of the Republican president's travel ban on people from several Muslim-majority nations. "Any alien who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States, where or not at a designated port of entry irrespective of such alien's status, may apply for asylum".

Trump denounced U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar and the 9th Circuit when Tigar on November 19 blocked the policy and later refused to immediately reinstate it.

Justice Roberts, who last month rebuked the President over his criticism of the judiciary, joined progressive Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor against the administration.

New Justice Brett Kavanaugh and three other conservative justices sided with the administration.

The ruling, though temporary in nature, was nevertheless a significant setback for the Trump Administration as it continues to adopt more stringent controls to deal with illegal entries into the United States from Latin American countries. The judge had blocked Trump's order on asylum from taking effect, prompting the president to denounce him as an "Obama judge". "And as much as we might be tempted to revise the law as we think wise, revision of the laws is left with the branch that enacted the laws in the first place - Congress". A federal judge in California quickly blocked the order, and the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals agreed.

The request came after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the administration's request to strike down a lower judge's order to block the ban.

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Lee Gelernt, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, praised the decision: "The Supreme Court's decision to leave the asylum ban blocked will save lives and keep vulnerable families and children from persecution".

While they can still turn themselves in and request asylum after crossing the border, on Thursday the Trump administration announced that all illegal immigrants will be pushed back into Mexico while their requests are being processed.

But the Justice Department's strategy of aggressively filing appeals to the Supreme Court to overturn rulings unfavorable to the President may not be in keeping with the court's modus operandi, Toobin said. "A key safeguard is the assurance, explicitly and unambiguously codified, that one fleeing persecution can seek asylum regardless of where, or how, he or she enters the country".

Mr Trump's proclamation stated that mass migration on the border had precipitated a crisis and he was acting to protect the USA national interest.

Critics have seen the move as unlawful and needlessly cruel to asylum seekers.

The White House said in response that Wednesday's ruling "will further overwhelm our immigration courts with meritless cases, making the existing massive backlog even worse".

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