In a clear 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States of America ruled certain asylum seekers cannot seek a federal review of expedited deportations.
On Thursday, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Samuel Alito delivered the Supreme Court’s opinion in a case of a Tamil man, Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam, who fled Sri Lanka to avoid torture and likely death; stating that certain asylum seekers cannot make court petitions after already exhausting their credible fear screening.
“He claimed a fear of returning to Sri Lanka because a group of men had once abducted and severely beaten him, but he said that he did not know who the men were, why they had assaulted him, or whether Sri Lankan authorities would protect him in the future,” the court record shows.
According to his attorneys at the American Civil Liberties Union, after entering the country in January 2017, Thuraissigiam made a credible fear request for asylum but was denied after “a cursory and inadequate interview” violated his “due process” rights. He was subsequently placed in the “expedited removal” system.
Now, more than two years after the original lawsuit, and a year after a subsequent ruling from a lower court last year, allowing Thuraissigiam to remain in the country pending the case, the high court’s decision ruled Thuraissigiam did not have his due process rights violated.
The court ruled that Thuraissigiam’s argument for due process does not hold up because Thuraissigiam entered the U.S. illegally and was correctly denied asylum based on his initial screening.
Thuraissigiam “was apprehended just 25 yards from the border. He therefore has no entitlement to procedural rights other than those afforded by statute,” Alito stated in the court’s opinion.
In addition, the court underscores the provisions of immigration law; “under those provisions, several classes of aliens are ‘inadmissible’ and therefore ‘removable,” the opinion stated.
ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt, who argued the case in court, said the decision fails to live up to this country’s constitutional “bedrock” principles
“ This decision means that some people facing flawed deportation orders can be forcibly removed with no judicial oversight, putting their lives in grave danger,” Gelernt said in the prepared release.
The court’s opinion comes three months after the attorneys for the ACLU representing Thuraissigiam.
In March, Gelernt argued before the Supreme Court that for as long Congress has regulated immigration, the Supreme Court has recognized that the court has never permitted the expulsion of a non-citizen without the opportunity for judicial review and should not do so now.
Similarly, on Tuesday, an appellate court ruled the U.S. Department of Homeland Security can expeditiously deport immigrants encountered anywhere in the country within two years of illegal entry into the country.
That ruling overturned an injunction put in place by a lower court last September that suspended the aforementioned fast-track deportations that was instituted in July of that year by then-U.S. Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan.
Specifically, DHS says the expanded rule targets immigrants across the country who cannot prove they have been in the country continuously for two or more years.
Before the designation took effect, expedited removal was limited to a 100-mile zone from the border; to those who arrived by sea; and to those who had been in the country for 14 days or less.
DHS said the targeted enforcement of unauthorized immigrants within the country was put in place as response to the influx of Central American asylum seekers that began in early 2019.