The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) upheld a federal judge's ban of the Trump administration's new asylum restrictions, a ruling which had already been affirmed by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
President's Administration Cannot Legislate From the Oval Office
Historically, asylum seekers were not required to enter the U.S. through immigration ports. Rather, they could cross the U.S. border wherever they chose. In a 5-4 ruling, with Chief Justice John Roberts siding with four traditionally liberal judges, SCOTUS ruled that the new policy, signed November 9th, that required those seeking asylum across the U.S. southern border to enter the U.S. only through official immigration ports, could be blocked, since it exceeds the president's authority, and conflicts with current immigration law.
As Circuit Judge Jay S. Bybee so eloquently stated,"Just as we may not, as we are often reminded, 'legislate from the bench,' neither may the Executive legislate from the Oval Office."
Government's Arguments Fell Short
The Solicitor General, Noel Francisco, had thrown a host of challenges in front of SCOTUS in the case of Donald J. Trump v. East Bay Sanctuary Covenant et al., after losing at both lower levels.
First, he argued that the administration request wasn't really a ban on asylum seekers as much as finding a way to process asylum claims in an orderly manner and thereby reduce the backlog on meritless asylum claims clogging up the immigration courts. Second, he argued it was within the administration's authority to make such immigration laws. Third, Francisco argued that the respondents in the case didn't have standing to sue because they are advocacy groups, such as the American Civil Liberties union (ACLU), and not individual aliens. And finally, Francisco argued that if SCOTUS was going to disallow the ban, it should do so on a limited basis and not nationwide. It appears SCOTUS struck down all of these arguments.
If you are seeking asylum and are being told you must cross the southern border through immigration ports, contact a local immigration attorney. A legal adviser will be able to best inform you of your rights, and may do so at little to no cost to you. Immigration laws are in constant flux lately, but one thing that hasn't changed is that immigrants have rights too.