U.S Supreme Court Rules in Favour of Trump’s ‘Safe 3rd Country’ Asylum Rule
Over 125 migrant mothers and children are suing the United States government after the Supreme Court recently ruled that the Trump administration could enforce a controversial rule regarding asylum eligibility.
The policy, also known as the ‘Safe Third Country’ rule, was announced in July and allows asylum applicants to be denied entry to the U.S if they did not first apply for asylum in another ‘safe’ country that they travelled through en route to the U.S. This could include countries like Mexico or Guatemala.
The implementation of this new rule means that immigration judges can now reject asylum claims, regardless of their merits, if the applicant did not first seek haven in another country before arriving at the U.S border.
This policy is expected to dramatically reduce the number of migrants granted asylum in the U.S. Immigration advocates have argued that this would pose a serious risk to vulnerable migrants who would be forced to face serious danger upon their return.
Following the Supreme Court’s recent ruling, judges and asylum officers have been directed to enforce the rule, despite the fact that it is currently being challenged in court.
Other lawsuits have already been filed that challenge the ‘Safe 3rd Country’ rule and lower courts had agreed to block its implementation. However, the Supreme Court ruled otherwise and found no reason why it should be blocked as these lawsuits make their way through the courts.
These legal challenges are ongoing, and decisions are not expected to be made before the 2020 U.S federal elections. In the meantime, thousands of asylum claims are expected to be rejected.
The migrant plaintiffs to the new suit are suing the U.S. government on the grounds that the Trump administration has violated the rights of asylum-seekers by essentially implementing an asylum ban at the southern border.
But unlike the other lawsuits which challenged the asylum rule itself, the suit filed on behalf of the mothers and children goes after the Trump administration on procedural grounds. The plaintiffs argue that the U.S government has implemented policy changes without warning, resulting in high amounts of asylum applications being suddenly rejected.
The plaintiffs include 126 women and their children who are mostly from Central American countries such as El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. According to Reuters, the women and children had been rejected in the early stages of the asylum process while being held at a Family Residential Center in Texas.
The suit was filed in Washington, D.C.