The United States Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday to lift court orders blocking a new rule on asylum seekers at the southern U.S. border.
The court ruling requires these individuals to seek asylum in the countries they pass through on their way to the United States. If their requests are then denied, they may ask the U.S. government for asylum.
The court’s ruling cancels orders by lower courts and permits the new policy to go into effect.
Two of the nine Supreme Court justices -- Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg -- disagreed, or dissented.
After a legal challenge to the new policy, U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco ordered in July that the policy be blocked all over the country. The government appealed the judge’s decision.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals then ruled that the new policy could only be blocked in the states of Arizona and California, where the 9th Circuit Court has jurisdiction.
That meant the administration of President Donald Trump could enforce the rule in the states of New Mexico and Texas.
Then on Monday, Tigar released a new order again blocking the policy everywhere in the U.S. The following day, the 9th Circuit court again limited Tigar’s order to the states of California and Arizona.
The Supreme Court’s decision on Wednesday permits the new rule to go forward as legal action against it continues to go through the court system.
Rule affects those seeking asylum from Central America
Thousands of people have been put on waiting lists at border crossings in Mexico to make asylum claims in the U.S. More than 30,000 people have been turned back to Mexico to wait out their asylum claims there, the Associated Press reports.
People seeking asylum in the U.S. must pass a screening called a “credible fear” interview. It is meant to find out whether asylum-seekers face danger in their home country. Most people pass this step in the process and must wait for further action. However, under the new rule, candidates cannot pass unless they have sought asylum in at least one country they traveled through, and were denied.
In publishing the new rules, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said it faces more requests than it can deal with. Of the 900,000 immigration cases waiting trial, 436,000 include asylum applications, it said.
Lee Gelernt is the American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who is representing pro-immigration groups in the case. He said the decision is temporary and that he believes he will win the case. “The lives of thousands of families are at stake,” he added.
The acting U.S. Customs and Border protection commissioner, Mark Morgan, said the Trump administration is “doing everything they can” to deal with the situation at the U.S. border with Mexico.
I’m Mario Ritter Jr.
Mark Sherman reported this story for the Associated Press. Mario Ritter Jr. adapted it for VOA Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.
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Words in This Story
challenge –n. a legal action against something
panel –n. a group with special knowledge that is to make decisions
jurisdiction –n. the power or right to make judgements about law in a certain area
interview –n. a meeting at which people talk to each other in order to ask questions and get information