Supreme Court Says Expedited Deportations OK

( President Donald Trump and his administration were awarded a victory on Thursday when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of their right to use what’s known as expedited removal.

The administration will continue to have the right to deport illegal immigrants quickly with only limited judicial review. The ruling also applies to asylum seekers.

The ruling was based on a Trump administration appeal to a lower court that ruled Sri Lankan farmer Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam had a right to judicial review of how the government handled his bid for asylum. The justices ruled limiting the judicial scrutiny in the “rapid deportation case” didn’t violate safeguards to individual liberty provided by the Constitution.

Two of the four liberal justices on the court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, joined with the five conservative justices to make it a 7-2 ruling. The liberal justices decided the plaintiff’s legal claim was no good, but didn’t embrace the reasoning of Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the majority opinion, which read:

“It has long been recognized that people who have yet to be granted legal entry to the United States do not have the full range of constitutional rights and that Congress has some authority to determine what rights they do possess. While aliens who have established connections in this country have due process rights in deportation proceedings, the court long ago held that Congress is entitled to set the conditions for an alien’s lawful entry into this country.”

Sonia Sotomayor, one of the dissenting voices, said this ruling will give administrations “unchecked” power, while also increasing risk of “arbitrary and illegal decisions” by officials in proceedings regarding deportation. She further wrote that the U.S. “has time and again reaffirmed its commitment to providing sanctuary to those escaping oppression and persecution.”

The case in question was based on a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in 2019 that said the plaintiff was due a review by courts on his claims. He was given that right until the suspension clause of the Constitution, which relates to one’s ability to challenge government confinement.

Thuraissigiam was seeking asylum in the U.S. His case was based on his claim that he was part of the Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority, and was tortured over political ties in ways such as simulated drowning and beatings. He fled that country in 2016 and was arrested in California a year later.

Thuraissigiam was placed on expedited removal, a system created in 1996 that makes exceptions for immigrants who can prove a “credible fear” of persecution or torture in whatever country they came from. U.S. officials rejected that claim, though.

In opposition to the 9th Circuit Court, the Trump administration said that ruling would defeat the purpose of quick deportations as well as “impose a severe burden on the immigration system.” Ultimately, the Supreme Court agreed.

Lee Gelernt, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union who was representing the plaintiff, said:

“This ruling fails to live up to the Constitution’s bedrock principle that individuals deprived of their liberty have their day in court, and this includes asylum seekers.”