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Expert: Will 'Court of Public Opinion' Sway White House, Supreme Court on Asylum Rules?

September 16, 2019 (1 min read)

Lomi Kriel, Houston Chronicle, Sept. 13, 2019

"A U.S. Supreme Court decision this week allowing President Donald Trump's administration to proceed with a near complete ban on asylum across the southern border while the policy is litigated will dramatically slash how many migrants can access the protection.

The ruling comes as the government rapidly expands another controversial program requiring many migrants to wait in Mexico while their cases proceed in the United States.

The decision from the nation's top court centered on a new policy requiring migrants to have first sought asylum in a nation they crossed to get to the United States or face rapid deportation. In limited cases, some will still qualify for a type of protection here if they pass a much higher bar than previously required.

The White House has attempted a series of sweeping immigration changes, only to see them blocked by federal judges, often in California. Late Wednesday, however, the Supreme Court permitted the government to enforce the new asylum rule for now.

It comes as a federal appeals court has also allowed the administration to temporarily proceed with forcing migrants to stay in dangerous Mexican border cities for the duration of their U.S. deportation cases. That case is similarly under litigation.

In conjunction, the two programs are certain to drastically reshape the nation’s decades-old asylum system, stripping away protections long held to be part of the U.S.’s international refugee obligations.

... Stephen Yale-Loehr, an immigration law professor at Cornell University, said justices historically have typically been more deferential to presidential power in immigration than in most other areas. But he recalled outrage over migrant family separation that quickly caused the White House to end the policy even before a federal judge forced it to do so.

“The court of public opinion is just as important as courts of law,” he said."