A controversial ruling from the Supreme Court that will block most Central American migrants from seeking asylum in the United States is being called “hateful,” “racist,” and “shameful.”
The justices’ order late Wednesday temporarily undoes a lower court ruling that had blocked the new asylum policy in some states along the southern border. The policy is meant to deny asylum to anyone who passes through another country on the way to the U.S. without seeking protection there.
Most people crossing the southern border are Central Americans fleeing violence and poverty. They are largely ineligible under the new rule, as are asylum seekers from Africa, Asia and South America who arrive regularly at the southern border.
Donald Trump is doing a victory lap, tweeting, “BIG United States Supreme Court WIN for the Border on Asylum!”
But the Texas immigration organization RAICES says, “This is terrible news. Asylum at the border is now banned for all but Mexicans. More lives will be lost.”
Trump’s policy on asylum seekers isn’t only racist, it’s cruel—preventing some of the world’s most desperate and vulnerable human beings from finding safety. With its decision today, The Supreme Court has put lives in danger.
“Once again the Executive Branch has issued a rule that seeks to upend longstanding practices regarding refugees who seek shelter from persecution. Although this Nation has long kept its doors open to refugees — and although the stakes for asylum seekers could not be higher — the Government implemented its rule without first providing the public notice and inviting the public input generally required by law.”
Lee Gelernt, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents the challengers in the new case, stressed that the Supreme Court’s action was provisional. “This is just a temporary step,” he said, “and we’re hopeful we’ll prevail at the end of the day. The lives of thousands of families are at stake.”
The case will almost certainly return to the Supreme Court, but that will take many months.