US President Donald Trump speaks to US Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott as he tours a section of the US-Mexico border wall in San Luis, Arizona, USA on June 23, 2020.
Carlos Barria | Reuters
The Supreme Court said Monday that it will hear two cases related to President Donald Trump's efforts to limit migration to the US from Mexico and other Latin American countries.
One case concerns whether the Trump administration's use of controversial military funds to build part of a border wall along the US-Mexico border is against the law.
Another is his administration's policy of staying in Mexico for asylum seekers in the United States.
The Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to appeal in both cases after suffering defeats in the lower courts. The judges' announcement was made in an order. Decisions in the cases are expected by the end of June.
The court's lawsuit comes just 15 days before the election between the president and his Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, and amid a battle on Capitol Hill for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Trump's third Supreme Court election. Barrett is expected to be approved by the Senate later this month.
Biden has advocated being essentially the opposite of Trump on immigration and other issues, describing Trump's policies as an "relentless assault on our values and our history as a nation of immigrants."
The fall of the border wall stems from the Trump administration's dispute with Congress in 2018 over funding the barrier, which contributed to the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.
After lawmakers approved only about $ 1.4 billion out of the nearly $ 6 billion the White House requested, Trump remitted another $ 2.5 billion allocated to the Department of Defense for use in wall construction had been.
The Sierra Club and a border guard sued over the use of the funds, and a federal district court blocked the broadcast in 2019.
However, the Supreme Court allowed the administration to move forward with construction of the wall in July 2019, while the administration appealed to the 9th U.S. Court of Appeals. The federal appeals court was ultimately against the administration.
The other case concerns the "Migrant Protection Protocols" implemented in January 2019 by the Ministry of Homeland Security.
According to this policy, asylum seekers traveling through Mexico to seek asylum in the US will be returned to Mexico for the duration of their deportation process. Those who question the policy argue that the government is returning migrants to parts of Mexico that are among the most dangerous places in the world.
The Innovation Law Lab, a nonprofit immigration agency, challenged the policy and a federal district court ordered the government to suspend it in April 2019.
The U.S. 9th Court of Appeals essentially upheld the lower court's decision, although that decision was overturned in March when the Supreme Court allowed the administration to resume policy temporarily pending appeal.
The American Civil Liberties Union, a national civil rights organization, represents the challengers to both efforts of the Trump administration. In statements released Monday, the group's lawyers found that the lower courts had ruled against the administration and asked the Supreme Court to do the same.
"Everyone knows Trump failed to get Congress to fund his xenophobic wall obsession, and every lower court that has examined the case has found that the president is not empowered to spend billions in taxpayers' money on construction waste, "Dror Ladin, an executive lawyer with the ACLU's National Security Project, said in an email.
Judy Rabinovitz, an ACLU attorney and senior attorney on the "Stay in Mexico" policy lawsuit, said asylum seekers "are at great risk every day when this illegal and depraved policy comes into effect".
"The courts have ruled against it repeatedly, and so should the Supreme Court," said Rabinovitz.
The Justice Department did not immediately return a request for comment.