On June 25th, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of the Trump Administration and against immigrant rights in the case of Department of Homeland Security v. Thuraissigiam. As a consequence of the decision, tens of thousands of asylum-seekers will have relatively little recourse to challenge a ‘fast-tracked’ deportation order. In this article, our deportation defense attorneys explain the implications of the Supreme Court’s decision.
Case Analysis: Department of Homeland Security v. Thuraissigiam
Background and Facts
A native of Sri Lanka, Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam was apprehended in the immediate vicinity of the U.S.-Mexico border after allegedly crossing without authorization. Mr. Thuraissigiam filed an asylum claim on the grounds that he would face beating, torture, and possible death if returned to his native country. However, an immigration officer decided that the claim was not credible.
Based on an expanded policy pushed by President Trump, Mr. Thuraissigiam was then scheduled for ‘expedited removal’. Initially created in the mid-1990s, expedited removal is a fast-track deportation process that the Trump Administration started to use against many more vulnerable migrants. In March of 2019, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked some fast-track deportations.
The Supreme Court’s Decision
As described by the American Immigration Council (AIC), expedited removal is a process through which low-ranking immigration officers can quickly deport non-citizens. In these cases, an immigrant is not given access to a full hearing. Prior to this administration, only a small number of recently-arrived migrants could be deported through expedited removal. In an effort to increase deportations, President Trump dramatically expanded fast-track removals.
Though the Administration was temporarily blocked by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court will allow the expedited removals to resume. In a 7 to 2 decision, the nation’s highest court determined that newly arrived immigrants lack full procedural rights and protections under U.S. law. Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented from the majority opinion.
Many Fast Track Deportations Will Continue
Unfortunately, the Supreme Court’s decision on expedited removals is a serious loss for many vulnerable asylum seekers. The court has allowed the Trump Administration to give immense discretion to low level immigration officers to deny asylum claims without a full hearing. In effect, many asylum seekers who “fail” an initial screening are now prevented from appealing the denial. Once again, this case confirms that the courts will only go so far to protect immigrant rights from Trump Administration threats. Political reform is needed to provide better protection to vulnerable asylum seekers.
Get Help From Our Deportation Defense Lawyers
At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, we are aggressive, solutions-focused advocates for immigrants and their families. We handle the complete range of cases, including asylum claims. If you or someone you know is facing deportation, our attorneys are ready to help. For a completely confidential assessment of your immigration case, please call us today. We represent clients in Los Angeles and throughout the wider region in Southern California.