The Supreme Court on Friday refused a request from the Trump administration to restore newly implemented restrictions that would prevent some migrants who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally from applying for asylum.
In documents first reported by BuzzFeed News, the court denied a motion from the Justice Department following a ruling from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this month that rejected the Trump administration's efforts to delay a judge's order blocking the new asylum policy.
BREAKING: The Supreme Court denies the Trump administration’s request to let it enforce its new asylum ban while the case proceeds in court. The decision was 5-4, with Chief Justice Roberts joining his more liberal colleagues in denying DOJ’s stay request. pic.twitter.com/Q4qkxo4nIH— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) December 21, 2018
The Departments of Justice and Homeland Security jointly issued the rule in November and said it sought to tamp down what the Trump administration called "meritless asylum claims from aliens who place a tremendous burden on our resources."
Later that month, U.S. District Court Judge Jon Tigar sided with the rule's opponents, temporarily blocking the order's provisions applying to immigrants suspected to have crossed the border illegally.
The decision was a narrow 5-4 ruling, with Chief Justice John Roberts siding with the court's more liberal justices against the administration's request for a stay.
President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump lawyers to Supreme Court: Jan. 6 committee 'will not be harmed by delay' Two House Democrats announce they won't seek reelection DiCaprio on climate change: 'Vote for people that are sane' MORE directed the move in November, part of a unilateral push by the administration to change decades-old rules governing asylum claims, which under a 1965 law stated that any migrant could claim asylum, regardless of their method of entry.
The Trump administration has argued that provisions in the same law allow the president to "suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens" if it is decided that their entry is "detrimental to the interests of the United States," the same reasoning the federal government previously used to defend Trump's travel ban.
Critics of the move saw it as unlawful and needlessly cruel to asylum applicants.
"Denying people the right to seek asylum is cruel, unjust, and also unlawful," Tom Jawetz, vice president of immigration policy at the liberal Center for American Progress, said last month.