US Supreme Court rejects Trump request to enforce asylum ban

Visitors stand outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on Feb. 27 2018. Bloomberg

Visitors stand outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on Feb. 27 2018. Bloomberg

Roberts, Jr., did not vote along with the Court's other conservatives to grant the government request.

The decision was about whether to lift a lower court's stay of Trump's new asylum regulation, and not on the merits of his plan.

"The Supreme Court doesn't like to be rushed, and Chief Justice Roberts in particular doesn't like to be rushed", said Toobin.

Tigar was nominated for the federal bench by President Barack Obama.

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That led Roberts, who has made a public push to emphasize the independence of the judiciary from the political branches, to issue a rare statement.

As is often the case in such procedural matters, neither side on the 5 to 4 vote explained its reasoning.

The highest court in the United States ruled by a count of five to four to prevent the Trump administration's proposed policy to deny some migrants the ability to seek asylum from taking effect. The majority opinion was written by Judge Jay S. Bybee, who was appointed by President George W. Bush.

The immigration groups challenging the new rule urged the court to leave Tigar's order in place, telling the justices that even if there were a crisis - which, they said, there is not - it would be up to Congress, not the president and the executive branch, to make any changes to the US asylum scheme. The statute says an asylum application must be accepted from any alien "physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States whether or not at a designated port of arrival. irrespective of such alien's status".

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U.S. District Court Judge Jon S. Tigar of the Northern District of California agreed, implementing a temporary restraining order on the ban, an order the 9th Circuit upheld.

This week, the USA announced that it would send some asylum seekers back to Mexico to wait out their immigration hearings, a move rights groups say will put migrants and refugees in danger. "That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for". Migrants who cross illegally, he said, would be held until deportation.

The loss Friday in the Supreme Court might not make much difference to migrants.

ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt said the ruling "will save lives and keep vulnerable families and children from persecution". An open-ended nationwide injunction on enforcement issued by a San Francisco-based federal judge this week prompted the Justice Department to seek immediate relief from the Supreme Court. "We are pleased the court refused to allow the administration to short-circuit the usual appellate process". But under the new policy, immigrants who cross into the United States illegally from Mexico would be ineligible for asylum.

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"The 9th Circuit, we're going to have to look at that", Trump said, before adding that "every case" that goes through that circuit results in "an automatic loss" for his administration.

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