The Trump administration scored a legal victory this week when the nation’s highest court ruled that asylum seekers who have been marked for deportation “have no right to a hearing before a judge,” NPR reported.
The 7–2 decision was announced on Thursday, according to NPR. Democrat-appointed Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer sided with the court’s conservative wing, while Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented.
According to the Washington Examiner, the case involved a man named Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam, a Sri Lankan national who had been captured by U.S. officials within 25 yards of the U.S.–Mexico border.
A petition for asylum
When taken before asylum officers, Thuraissigiam claimed he was a farmer who had been attacked and badly beaten while on his land by unknown individuals, leaving him with serious injuries, NPR reported.
A petition submitted by Solicitor General Noel Francisco seeking to have the case reviewed by the Supreme Court states that Thuraissigiam “told the asylum officer that he did not know who the men were or why they had beaten him.”
He also recalled “that they had not said anything to him and never identified themselves, and that he had not reported the incident to police because they ‘w[ould] ask who did it” and he ‘d[id] not know’ so the police ‘w[ould] not help [him].'”
Though reports indicated that Thuraissigiam belongs to an oppressed minority group in Sri Lanka, the officer concluded that Thuraissigiam “provided no testimony indicating that he was or will be targeted because of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.”
He added: “It is unknown who these individuals were or why they wanted to harm the applicant.”
Controlling the border
While being placed in expedited deportation proceedings, Thuraissigiam sought judicial relief in the Southern District of California. Although his case was dismissed, the 9th Circuit sided with him on appeal before he was shot down again by the Supreme Court.
In a brief submitted by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Thuraissigiam’s behalf, lawyer Lee Gelernt wrote: “The expedited removal process provides drastically truncated administrative procedures, and virtually no judicial review of purely legal claims, and even of claims that the removal would violate the Constitution.”
However, Solicitor General Francisco’s petition warned that allowing the 9th Circuit’s decision to stand would fly in the face of Congress’ authority.
“Under the Ninth Circuit’s rule, virtually all of those aliens could potentially seek largely unrestricted habeas review in a district court, in direct contravention of Congress’s clear judgment to narrowly limit such review,” he wrote. The petition also went on to highlight the chaotic results that would come from “undermining the government’s ability to control the border,” the Examiner reported.