CGRS Decries Supreme Court Decision Allowing Administration to Slam the Door on Asylum Seekers

Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS) decries yesterday’s devastating Supreme Court decision allowing the Trump Administration to carry out its latest, and perhaps most far-reaching, attempt to slam the door on asylum seekers. Two months ago, the Trump Administration announced a new rule denying asylum to those seeking protection at our southern border if they do not first apply for asylum from a third country while en route to the United States. In a rare move, the Supreme Court has allowed the policy, the Administration’s latest “asylum ban,” to go into effect while the lower courts consider its legality.

The majority offered no reasoning for their decision, but Justice Sotomayor, joined by Justice Ginsburg, issued an impassioned dissent, lamenting that the Administration’s new policy “topples decades of settled asylum practices and affects some of the most vulnerable people in the Western Hemisphere.” Indeed, the rule clearly violates longstanding immigration laws, marking yet another shameful attempt by the Trump Administration to thwart the will of Congress with the stroke of a pen. And by denying relief to virtually all asylum seekers who pass through a third country, the Administration has turned its back on the vast majority of women, children, and families fleeing crisis-levels of violence in the region.

“Advocates have likened these past few weeks to whiplash. In the morning their client may be eligible for critical, life-saving protection, but in the afternoon, they may be facing deportation to grave danger,” CGRS Co-Legal Director Blaine Bookey said today. “Even if this latest asylum ban is ultimately blocked, allowing it to take effect now will have severe consequences, imperiling the lives of countless refugees.”