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Statement on Supreme Court Order on Asylum Ban

Silver Spring, Md.–Yesterday, the Supreme Court allowed the “third country transit asylum ban” to go into effect. This means that asylum seekers from Central America and other countries can be denied access to the U.S. asylum system if they do not first seek asylum in Mexico or another country that they transited through on their way to the U.S. border. Until this case works its way through the lower courts, this decision essentially blocks asylum seekers at our southern border. 

In response, Melanie Nezer, HIAS’ Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, said: “We have in our laws protections for asylum seekers that are the result of 70 years of legislation, court precedent, international agreements, and administrative rulemaking, all of which the Supreme Court repudiated yesterday.” 

Nezer continued: “Blocking people who are fleeing persecution shows the world that that the U.S. doesn’t care about their safety. This is a serious failure of leadership and a rejection of our historical role as the world’s leader in refugee protection. When the United States turns persecuted people away, it’s not difficult to imagine a world where nobody helps them and persecuted families and children are completely on their own.”

The Supreme Court did not rule on the merits of the case, and legal challenges to the administration’s policy continue. HIAS has joined  a group of twenty-eight NGOs and law school clinics in filing an amicus curiae (or “friend of the court”) brief in support of legal efforts to block this asylum ban. An earlier Supreme Court order blocked a less restrictive Trump administration policy that kept people who didn’t present themselves at an official port of entry from seeking asylum. 

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