Supreme Court rejects Trump bid to enforce asylum crackdown

The 5-4 ruling saw Justice Brett Kavanaugh and three other conservative judges agreeing with the Trump administration. The administration said the president is acting in response to a surge of people who cross the border illegally and claim asylum once caught.

With four justices dissenting, Supreme Court...

But the legal battle over the regulation had provoked a dispute between Roberts and Trump, after the president complained that an "Obama judge" had initially stopped the regulation.

The disputed Trump policy, created to apply for 90 days, would effectively require all asylum claims to be made at official ports of entry.

Solicitor General Noel Francisco asked the Supreme Court to greenlight the regulations pending appeal because he said they are "designed to channel asylum seekers to ports of entry, where their claims can be processed in an orderly manner; deter unlawful unsafe border crossings; and reduce the backlog of a meritless asylum claims".

"It's a major blow to the Trump administration and sends a strong signal that there are at least five justices who agree with the district court that the asylum ban exceeds the President's statutory authority", said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law.

"The president, finding that this development encourages unsafe and illegal border crossings and undermines the integrity of the nation's borders, determined that a temporary suspension of entry by aliens who fail to present themselves for inspection at a port of entry along the southern border is in the nation's interest", Francisco wrote.

U.S. Supreme Court rejects Trump bid to enforce new asylum rules

The justices' order, on a 5-4 vote with Chief Justice John Roberts in the majority, left in effect a lower court decision that temporarily bars the president from changing the rules for people who claim asylum after entering the country from Mexico.

Current federal law says that anyone can request asylum "whether or not at a designated port of arrival" and "irrespective of such alien's status".

Trump's comments elicited a rare public rebuke from Chief Justice John Roberts, who shot back that the federal judiciary does not "have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges". But rights groups have challenged his new rules, saying they violate administrative and immigration laws.

The administration argued that those who cross into the country illegally could still apply for asylum but that their illegal passage would be a reason to deny it.

US District Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco blocked the policy on November 19.

"We are pleased the court refused to allow the administration to short-circuit the usual appellate process", Gelernt said.

Although the legal fight isn't over, the high court rebuff of Trump's request to block the order suggests skepticism about the administration's legal case. An open-ended nationwide injunction on enforcement issued by a San Francisco-based federal judge this week prompted the Justice Department to seek immediate relief from the Supreme Court.