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Immigrants wait to eat at a temporary migrant shelter set up near the U.S.-Mexico border on November 18, 2018. (Photo: John Moore/Getty Images)

Warnings That 'Lives Will Be Lost' After Right-Wing Supreme Court Allows Trump Asylum Ban to Take Effect

"The Supreme Court is giving a green light to this administration to continue its inhumane treatment of vulnerable people."

Jake Johnson

The right-wing Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that President Donald Trump's near-total ban on Central American asylum-seekers can take effect as it faces legal challenges, a move immigrant rights groups decried as cruel, unlawful, and potentially deadly.

The high court's unsigned order overturned a federal court injunction from July that stopped implementation of the restrictions, which the ACLU and other organizations have said are clearly illegal.

"The Supreme Court has stayed the lower court injunction of asylum ban 2.0, a slapdash, ill-conceived, patently illegal policy that will essentially put asylum out of reach for all but Mexican nationals," Charanya Krishnaswami, Americas advocacy director at Amnesty International USA, said on Wednesday. "Lives will be lost while the case churns through the courts."

As the New York Times reported, the Supreme Court's ruling will allow the Trump administration to "enforce new rules that generally forbid asylum applications from migrants who have traveled through another country on their way to the United States without being denied asylum in that country."

"The court's order was a major victory for the administration," the Times noted, "allowing it to enforce a policy that will achieve one of its central goals: effectively barring most migration across the nation's southwestern border by Hondurans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, and others."

While no vote was recorded on the asylum ruling, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg voiced opposition to the decision.

"Once again the executive branch has issued a rule that seeks to upend longstanding practices regarding refugees who seek shelter from persecution," Sotomayor wrote in her dissent. "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, an attorney with the ACLU, which is challenging the Trump administration's asylum ban, said the Supreme Court's ruling "is just a temporary step" and expressed hope that "we'll prevail at the end of the day."

"The lives of thousands of families are at stake," said Gelernt.


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