In what may turn out to be President Trump’s biggest victory to date, the Supreme Court has ruled that his administration can go ahead with the proposed new rules on dealing with asylum seekers. Even the most die-hard of cynics are predicting that this will be a game-changer both for dealing with the flow of migrants at the southern border and for the president’s chances of holding tight to the White House in 2020.
The new rules state that those seeking asylum must follow the correct procedure, meaning any who pass through another safe country will be denied. Migrants who don’t claim asylum in the first safe country they travel though will be ineligible to make an application in the US. While this rule is still being challenged, the SCOTUS decision means it can be implemented straight away.
Only two justices dissented, Ruth Bader-Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor. In her dissenting argument, the latter wrote:
“Once again the Executive Branch has issued a rule that seeks to upend longstanding practices regarding refugees who seek shelter from persecution.”
Referring to the Trump administration seeking remedy directly from the Supreme Court as opposed to lower courts, she added, “This is an extraordinary request … Unfortunately, the Court acquiesces. Because I do not believe the Government has met its weighty burden for such relief, I would deny the stay.”
It should be noted that Sotomayor did not directly criticize the policy, but rather the method of getting it approved. And there’s a good reason for this. Asylum laws are international, and surprisingly clear. An individual who seeks asylum (from war, persecution, etc.) must make a claim for asylum in the “first safe country” to which they flee.
Experts on both sides of the border argument admit that this new rule – which is, in fact, really just enforcement of the existing rules – will drastically reduce the amount of immigration/asylum claims from Central America, most notably Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
Naturally, President Trump was the first to announce to the world at large via his favored conduit. He tweeted:
“BIG United States Supreme Court WIN for the Border on Asylum!”
And it is. Not just for those who support tougher controls on the border, but for creating a fair and robust asylum system for those who truly need it. Not that it will be advertised as such, yet this Trump victory is also a humanitarian victory.
Asylum laws are designed for genuine seekers of refuge, those who have no alternative but to flee their homelands. Mexico is regarded internationally as a safe, prosperous country. It is ranked 15th in the world for nominal GDP, ahead of such supposedly wealthy nation’s like Norway, Sweden, Ireland, Austria, and every leftist’s favorite poster child, Denmark.
Asylum is there to help genuine refugees. Mexico is, and should be, the first and last port of call for those seeking asylum.
Prospects for 2020
While there are still going to be challenges from lower courts, this SCOTUS ruling means that we will likely see a major reduction almost overnight in those trying to cross the southern border illegally.
As the numbers begin to drop, those who voted for Trump in 2016 will be able to tick off another campaign promise. But illegal immigration is not a partisan issue, despite what we may hear on the primary stumps across America. Democrat voters and independents rate illegal immigration as one of the most important factors in influencing their vote, if Trump can get his message across that this is a humanitarian victory, he may just win even bigger when it comes to 2020.