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Supreme Court Deals Blow to Trump on Asylum-Seekers

Won't allow White House to begin enforcing controversial new restrictions
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2018 2:49 PM CST
The Supreme Court building in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

(Newser) – The Supreme Court ruled against President Trump on Friday regarding a controversial new plan to put restrictions on asylum-seekers. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court's four more liberal justices in blocking the White House from immediately enforcing the plan, reports the New York Times. (This is the same case that prompted Roberts to issue a rare public criticism of Trump after the president ridiculed a lower-court judge as an "Obama judge.") In November, Trump issued a proclamation declaring that anyone who illegally crossed the US-Mexico border would not be able to seek asylum. However, that policy seems to contradict a federal statute that says "any alien who is physically present in the United States" may apply for asylum, no matter how they entered the US.

A federal judge in San Francisco issued a temporary restraining order preventing the new policy from taking effect, and the White House asked the Supreme Court to lift it. On Friday, the court declined, though justices Brett Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch disagreed with the majority. Trump had made the move in reaction to migrant caravans moving north from Central America, notes the Washington Post. The decision doesn't mean the policy is dead, only that it cannot be enforced until a lawsuit against it is settled. That could take months, reports the AP. (Justice Ginsburg's recent fall may have had a silver lining, medically speaking.)

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