FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump tours a section of recently constructed U.S.-Mexico border wall in San Luis, Arizona, U.S., June 23, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo


The Supreme Court said Monday it would take up cases concerning President Donald Trump’s plans to fund the border wall and a policy that requires those seeking asylum to remain in Mexico while they await hearings. The two are cornerstones of Trump’s presidency, as Trump even promised to build the wall in his 2016 campaign. 

The so-called “Remain In Mexico” policy, established in January 2019, aimed to reduce the flow of people entering the U.S. to seek asylum. These people are returned to Mexico while they wait for hearings. Officials said the policy helped get cases through in months instead of years. But in February, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a U.S. District Court ruling and noted that aslyum-seekers were facing discrimination and violence in Mexico. Another issue is whether the policy is a proper excise of the authority of the Department of Homeland Security. The policy forced at least 60,000 people to wait in tent encampments while their requests were heard. 

The court will also decide if Trump unconstitutionally usurped Congress by diverting Defense Department funds to pay for construction of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Justices allowed construction of the wall with disputed funds to proceed in 2019 by staying a lower court injunction, and justices typically grant review after issuing stays. 

Democrats approved money for border wall construction last year to end a partial shutdown, but nowhere near what the president wanted, leading Trump to divert the money from the defense fund. The wall’s opponents, including the Sierra Club and some border communities, said the president cannot spend more than Congress has authorized and said the emergency declaration law invoked by the president allows use of Pentagon construction funds only to support the military. The Department of Justice said federal law gives the president wide latitude in deciding when to declare a national emergency.

The Supreme Court will hear the cases early next year, with a decision by the spring, though it’s also possible Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden would stop construction of the wall if he wins.  


Supreme Court to hear Trump immigration cases on border wall, asylum – The Washington Times – 10/19/2020
The Supreme Court announced Monday it will take up two key cases involving President Trump’s get-tough immigration policy, granting hearings on his border wall construction project and his crackdown on bogus asylum claims.

Supreme Court to hear case over Trump border wall – Politico – 10/19/2020
The justices typically grant review after issuing a stay like the one last year, particularly in a high-profile legal fight like the one over Trump’s border wall. 

Supreme Court To Hear Case Over Pentagon Funding For Border Wall – Talking Points Memo – 10/19/2020
The high court has previously allowed construction to continue, even after a federal appeals court ruled in June that the administration had illegally sidestepped Congress in transferring the Defense Department funds. 

SCOTUS Takes a Border Wall Case – Reason – 10/19/2020
Specifically, the case concerns whether the plaintiffs have a cause of action to challenge the Defense Department’s reallocation of funds to pay for construction of a wall along the border with Mexico and, if so, whether the Defense Department’s actions were lawful. 


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