The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear two cases involving Trump administration policies at the US-Mexico border: One about a policy that makes asylum seekers wait in Mexico for US court hearings and a second about the administration’s use of money to fund the border wall.
One case will deal with the Trump administration policy known informally as “Remain in Mexico”, which began in January 2019.
It became a key pillar of the administration’s response to an unprecedented surge of asylum-seeking families from Central American countries at the border, drawing criticism for having people wait in highly dangerous cities on the Mexican side of the border.
Lower courts found that the policy is probably illegal. But earlier this year, the Supreme Court stepped in to allow the policy to remain in effect while a lawsuit challenging it plays out in the courts.
More than 60,000 asylum seekers were returned to Mexico under the policy. The Justice Department estimated in late February there were 25,000 people still waiting in Mexico for hearings in US courts. Those hearings were suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.The other case will consider the legality of the president’s use of funds for the US-Mexico border wall. These funds were selected for use after Congress refused to appropriate money he sought for the wall and shift money already provided by legislators for other purposes.
The Justice Department appealed a lower court’s June 26 decision that Trump’s administration lacked the authority to shift the military funds towards the border project because the so-called Appropriations Clause of the US Constitution exclusively grants the power of the purse to Congress.
“We look forward to making the same case before the Supreme Court and finally putting a stop to the administration’s unconstitutional power grab,” said Dror Ladin, a lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the case on behalf of other advocacy groups.