According to reporting from the Associated Press, the Supreme Court of the United States will allow the Trump Administration to enforce a devastating new rule that will prevent many Central American migrants from obtaining asylum protections in California and other states. By a vote of seven to two (7-2), the nation’s highest court has allowed the Trump Administration to unilaterally alter decades worth of American asylum policy. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor were in the dissent.
The Trump Administration’s Attack on Central American Migrant Rights: Explained
Under the proposed rules change promulgated by President Trump’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS), migrants will now be required to apply for asylum in the “first safe country” that they enter. Despite its relatively high rate of crime and the rampant cartel activity, Mexico has been deemed a “safe country” by the United States government.
As a result, Central American migrants, who almost by definition must pass through Mexico on their way to the United States, will be required to submit a Mexican asylum application before they will be allowed to file their U.S. asylum application. This is a direct attack on the rights of migrants from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala — the three countries from which most asylum seekers originate.
A Major Setback — But the Fight is Not Over
The Legal Battle
First and foremost, it is important to understand the full implications of this Supreme Court decision. To be clear, the Supreme Court did not rule that the Trump Administration’s policy is legal. Instead, it stopped a lower court from imposing an injunction that blocks the policy while the case moves through the courts. What does this mean in practice? It means that the lawsuit against the new DHS policy is still moving forward. However, the administration will be able to roll out and implement the policy while the case is pending.
The Political Battle
It is bad news that President Trump can single handedly take action to restrict and eliminate immigrant rights. At the same time, there is a flip side to that: the next U.S. president will have significant power to undo all of the terrible executive policies enacted by the Trump Administration. Supporters of immigrants and immigrant rights need to make their voices heard in the political process. The courts can only do so much to protect immigrant rights — legal reforms are needed, and that comes from the president, Congress, California leaders, and local community leaders.
Call Our Los Angeles, CA Asylum Attorney For Immediate Assistance
At the Law Office of Joshua L. Goldstein, PC, our California immigration lawyer has deep experience handling a wide array of asylum claims. If you or your family member needs help with an asylum application, please call us at our Los Angeles law office today, (213) 262-2000. We represent immigrants throughout Los Angeles County, including in Compton, Torrance, West Hollywood, Manhattan Beach, Calabasas, and Burbank.