USA and the UK
US Supreme Court will Hear Two Cases on Trump Immigration Policies
The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear two cases involving Trump administration policies at the US-Mexico border.
The Supreme Court will decide on the legality of President Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy as well as the administration’s use of money to fund the US-Mexico border wall.
“Remain in Mexico” Policy to be Heard
The “Remain in Mexico” policy has forced more than 60,000 asylum seekers to return to Mexico while their asylum claims are processed.
In late February, the US justice department estimated that 25,000 were still waiting in Mexico for their cases to be heard in American courts.
Migrants have faced violence and homelessness whilst awaiting court dates, including many children. Human rights groups in the area have documented cases of kidnappings, rapes and assaults.
“Illegal and depraved” Policy
On Monday, Judy Rabinovitz, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, which is challenging the controversial policy, labelled it as “illegal and depraved”.
“The courts have repeatedly ruled against it, and the supreme court should as well,”.
The court’s calendar is full through to the end of the year, which means that the case will not be heard until 2021.
If Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wins the presidential election on 3rd November, it is highly likely that the policy will be rescinded, meaning that the case would become moot.
The policy, officially known as Migrant Protection Protocols, remains in effect because in March, the Supreme Court decided that a lower-court decision to block the policy should be put on hold.
The Trump Administration has said that “Remain in Mexico” has reduced the flow of migrants from Central American since it was introduced in January 2019.
The restriction of both legal and illegal immigration has been a central theme of Trump’s presidency. The president has sought to reduce asylum claims through a series of policy and rule changes.
Use of Money to Fund US-Mexico Border Wall to be Investigated
The other case to be heard will be the legality of the President’s use of funds for the US-Mexico border wall. The funds in question were selected after Congress refused to appropriate money which the Trump administration sought to build the wall.
The Trump administration redirected $2.5 billion from military counter-narcotics programmes towards the construction of border walls in California, New Mexico and Arizona. Also, the administration planned to use $3.6 billion from military construction funds and $600 million from the Treasury Department’s asset forfeiture fund.
The Justice Department appealed a lower court decision made in June of this year, which stated that the Trump administration lacked the authority to shift military funds towards the border project because the ‘Appropriations Clause’ of the US Constitution exclusively grants the power of the purse to Congress.
Dror Ladin, a lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union, said:
“We look forward to making the same case before the Supreme Court and finally putting a stop to the administration’s unconstitutional power grab.”
The border wall was a central 2016 campaign promise made by Donald Trump, who is seeking re-election on the 3rd November. Trump promised that Mexico would pay for the wall, but Mexico has always refused.
Trump has always claimed that the wall is needed to curb illegal immigration and drug trafficking across the southern border. The Democrats have called the wall immoral, ineffective and expensive.
With both of these cases, much will depend on the outcome of the presidential election on 3rd November. Democrat nominee Joe Biden is currently polling ahead of Donald Trump as both men increase campaign efforts with just a fortnight to go until the election.
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Migrants at US border with Mexico. [Image credit: Paul Ratje, Agence France-Presse]
Donald Trump at US-Mexico border wall in San Luis, Arizona. [Carlos Barria, Reuters]