Immigration Law

Quick deportation process for asylum-seekers to be reviewed by Supreme Court

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The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Friday to decide whether asylum-seekers are entitled to federal court review of expedited removal orders.

The court will review a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at San Francisco that found that the removal process violated the suspension clause in the case of Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam.

SCOTUSblog, USA Today, the Washington Post and Law360 have stories; a press release by the American Civil Liberties Union is here.

The suspension clause reads: “The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.”

Thuraissigiam, a member of the Tamil ethnic minority in Sri Lanka, claimed that he was beaten in his home country for supporting a Tamil political candidate.

But Thuraissigiam told an asylum officer that the men who beat him didn’t identify themselves and didn’t say why they were beating him, according to the government.

The asylum officer found in a credible-fear interview that Thuraissigiam was not entitled to asylum, according to the government’s cert petition. A supervisory asylum officer and an immigration judge reached the same conclusion. Thuraissigiam filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, which was denied by a federal judge.

In ruling for Thuraissigiam, the 9th Circuit cited Boumediene v. Bush, the 2008 Supreme Court decision that allowed enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay to challenge their detention.

In the Obama administration, the expedited removal process applied to immigrants detained at the border less than two weeks after their arrival. The Trump administration is seeking to expand expedited removal to include individuals found anywhere in the country within two years of their entry. A federal judge has temporarily blocked the expansion.

The case is Department of Homeland Security v. Thuraissigiam; the SCOTUSblog case page is here.

The Supreme Court accepted a second immigration case Friday. In Nasrallah v. Barr, the issue is whether federal appeals courts have the authority to review factual findings denying deportation relief when immigrants with a criminal history claim that they will be persecuted or tortured in their home country. Law360 has coverage.

The SCOTUSblog case page for Nasrallah is here.

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