Supreme Court says asylum-seekers can’t challenge deportations

In a 7-2 decision June 25, the Supreme Court said the Trump administration can deport some asylum-seekers without granting them a federal court hearing.

The opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, said asylum-seekers on track for expedited removal from the U.S. are not entitled to seek habeas corpus — or the right to challenge government detention. The court also ruled that a 1996 law allowing for fast-tracked deportations is constitutional.

The high court reversed a lower court ruling in favor of a Sri Lankan farmer, Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam, who fled his country saying he was persecuted as a member of the country’s Tamil minority and was apprehended just across the U.S.-Mexican border in 2017.

An immigration officer said Thuraissigiam failed to show “credible fear of persecution” if he returned home, so like other asylum-seekers who fail their initial screenings, he was placed on a track for expedited removal, meaning he would not receive the right to an attorney or a hearing before a judge.

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