In the News: Supreme Court to Hear Asylum Case


The Supreme Court will hear whether asylum seekers have the legal right to challenge their expedited removal proceedings in federal courts. Expedited removal proceedings allow immigration authorities to remove someone without any immigration hearing before any judge. The hearings will be scheduled early next year, and we can expect to see a ruling by July.

The case is a Trump Administration appeal case. In the case Thuraissigiam v. USDHS, The 9th U.S. Court of Circuit Appeals has already ruled that the Constitution guarantees asylum seekers a “meaningful opportunity” to show the criteria are met. Thuraissigiam was seeking asylum from racial persecution in Sri Lanka. According to the asylum officer and a federal judge, he did not meet asylum criteria. He was subject to expedited removal, which he challenged with a petition of habeas corpus.

Habeas corpus means “you have the body.” It is used to challenge any unlawful detainment or restriction. A habeas petition alleges the filer was subject to detainment or restriction in violation of Constitutional law, rather than state law or even federal criminal or immigration statutes.

A lower court dismissed Thuraissigiam’s habeas petition.

Expedited removal orders typically come after an immigration judge has determined an asylum-seeker does not qualify for asylum. They can also happen if you’re caught within 100 miles of a land border within 14 days of arrival.

Last month, the Trump Administration did its best to expand when and how expedited removal orders may be used. The Trump Administration wished to include undocumented immigrants anywhere in the US who can’t prove they’ve lived in the US continuously for two years or more. That particular case is unrelated to the current matter under appeal.

It seems unlikely that this administration will stop looking for ways to get more immigrants out of the country faster.

The Human Rights Watch notes the US Government passed the Refugee Act of 1980 in order to bring the nation into compliance with the Refugee Convention and Protocol, and that the US is obligated not to return someone to a country where there are substantial grounds for believing they would not be subjected to torture as a signatorty to the Convention Against Torture.

“Human Rights Watch has found that under expedited removal, as previously applied at the border, US immigration officials have failed to properly identify asylum seekers and have therefore violated its international human rights obligations.” HRW.Org

Many asylum speakers report they’re never referred for a credible fear interview. 

See also:

Three Legal Wins for Immigration

Supreme Court Temporarily Upholds New Asylum Rule

What are the Grounds for Cancellation of Renewal?

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