The Trump administration sought to ban asylum for migrants who entered the United States illegally through its southern border. Lower courts previously found the restrictions on asylum, which were stipulated in a November executive order, to be unconstitutional. The Trump administration then appealed the outcome of that case, which went to the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit before going to the Supreme Court, according to media reports.
The Court of Appeals had agreed with lower court rulings. "Just as we may not, as we are often reminded, 'legislate from the bench,' neither may the Executive legislate from the Oval Office," wrote Judge Jay S. Bybee, a conservative jurist appointed by US President George W. Bush. On Friday, the Supreme Court's ruling upheld the Court of Appeals two-to-one decision restricting the executive order from taking effect.
Chief Justice John Roberts was the deciding vote in the nine-person US Supreme Court, siding with some of the more left-leaning justices. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh voted in favor of letting the administration follow through with the policy immediately, even as it is challenged in lower courts.
The White House slammed a lower court earlier on Thursday for its decision to block Trump's executive order, Sputnik reported.
"Today's ruling will further overwhelm our immigration courts with meritless cases, making the existing massive backlog even worse," the White House said in a statement December 20.
US President Donald Trump campaigned on promises to build a wall on the southern border to prevent illegal immigration, but it remains to be seen how much funding can be secured for this effort. In late October, the Pentagon deployed 5,200 troops to reinforce the border with Mexico from "migrant caravans" originating in Central American. A majority of those Defense Department staff providing additional support to border patrol agents have since been withdrawn.