In a disappointing but unsurprising turn of events, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled yesterday that the Trump administration may continue its policy of sending asylum seekers to danger in Mexico under the so-called “Migrant Protection Protocols,” or MPP.
The Trump administration had asked the Supreme Court last week to block a carefully-reasoned decision by the Ninth Circuit declaring MPP as illegal. The administration’s request for extraordinary Supreme Court relief was once a rarely used tool. Under Trump, the requests have become commonplace and the Supreme Court majority compliant. As CNN reported, even government lawyers admit that kidnapping is a danger for all those returned to Mexico under MPP and that not showing up for a court date because of a kidnapping is grounds for deportation.
Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the only justice to note that she would have denied the request, which comes after she issued scathing dissents in two other decisions granting the Trump administration’s extraordinary requests, one on the Trump administration’s new wealth test and the other on a new rule essentially barring asylum applications from Central Americans who fail to apply for asylum in another country they may pass through. As she wrote regarding the Court’s greenlighting of its controversial Public Charge regulation:
Today’s decision follows a now-familiar pattern. The Government seeks emergency relief from this Court, asking it to grant a stay where two lower courts have not. The Government insists—even though review in a court of appeals is imminent—that it will suffer irreparable harm if this Court does not grant a stay. And the Court yields.
The following is a statement from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
The Supreme Court’s conservative majority now operates as the judicial wing of Trump’s reelection campaign. The pattern is now familiar: Trump, with Stephen Miller whispering in his ear and demanding compliance from his acolytes throughout the administration, issue policy changes of dubious legality and constitutionality. Lower courts rule against the administration. The administration requests accelerated consideration from the Supreme Court. The Court complies and rules in favor of the administration.
This disturbing pattern includes yesterday’s ruling on MPP, as well as decisions greenlighting the new wealth test for immigrants (public charge), asylum bans, the border wall and the Muslim Ban. These rulings are especially concerning given the Court’s awaited decision on DACA and Justice John Roberts demonstrated propensity to believe lies spewed in Court by the Trump administration despite the reality of top administration officials pledging, outside of Court, to deport Dreamers if this Court allows the Trump administration to kill DACA.
It’s tragic that our democracy is now overseen by a conservative majority that rides shotgun for the Trump administration’s lawless and cruel war on immigrants and refugees.