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LOS EBANOS, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 10: Families, mostly from Central America, wait to be transported to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing center after they crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico and presented themselves to border agents on September 10, 2019, in Los Ebanos, Texas. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
LOS EBANOS, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 10: Families, mostly from Central America, wait to be transported to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing center after they crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico and presented themselves to border agents on September…

What is the moral consequence of the Supreme Court decision in favor of Trump’s asylum ban?

The decision of the United States Supreme Court tells the president he can deny asylum to immigrants.

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Last Wednesday, the Supreme Court rescinded the temporary block of a minor court and gave the green light to the Trump administration to deny asylum to immigrants who have entered another country before arriving in the United States.

You don’t need to be a specialist in immigration law to understand that the Trump Administration measure not only goes against international rule, but also radically reverses the historical tradition of the United States as being “the land of the free.”

Despite the efforts of lower courts in California - which argued a possible violation of federal statute and administrative law requirements - the Supreme Court ruled that the government can continue to prohibit immigrants from applying for subsidiary protection if they have not done so in a country they passed through before, breaking with the so-called "third country agreement.”

This implies, in brief, that non-Mexican immigrants who try to reach the United States through the southern border won’t be able to request asylum at the ports of entry or after being stopped by Border Patrol trying to circumvent the border.

Although the majority of immigrants who resort to these routes are from Central America - mainly Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador - the measure will also affect many immigrants from Africa and Asia, according to the BBC.

Of the nine justices in the Supreme Court, only Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor disagreed on the decision.

Sotomayor, in particular, had a lot to say 

"Once again, the Executive Branch has issued a rule that seeks to upend long-standing practices regarding refugees who seek shelter from persecution," Sotomayor wrote in her dissent letter.

“Although this Nation has long kept its doors open to refugees — and although the stakes for asylum seekers could not be higher — the Government implemented its rule without first providing the public notice and inviting the public input generally required by law,” she added.

For the Justice, the decision of the Supreme Court is not implicitly jurisdictional, but does mark a precedent in the way in which the body exercises control over the executive branch.

“By granting a stay, the Court simultaneously lags behind and jumps ahead of the courts below. And in doing so, the Court sidesteps the ordinary judicial process to allow the Government to implement a rule that bypassed the ordinary rulemaking process,” she concluded. 

“Unfortunately, it appears the Government has treated this exceptional mechanism as a new normal. Historically, the Government has made this kind of request rarely; now it does so reflexively.”

However, the issue won’t die there.

Despite the decision of the Supreme Court to lift the blockade of minor courts, organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have taken the government’s policy to court, arguing that it violates the country's immigration law.

"This is just a temporary step, and we’re hopeful we’ll prevail at the end of the day," said ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt.

For the countries of the region, the reality is quite different

The Guatemalan Supreme Court "lifted a court order" that temporarily blocked the third-country agreement with Washington, and Honduras explored "some kind of cooperation" with the United States, the Financial Times explained.

But Mexico, who must deal with the greatest influx of immigrants, reiterated on Tuesday that it would refuse to act as a safe third country, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said.

“What Mexico has done is working,” said Ebrard. “But the tendency is irreversible. It is something that we think will be permanent. ”

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