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Court Refuses to Halt the Construction of U.S./Mexico Border Wall

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The Supreme Court on Friday turned down a plea from opponents of President Donald Trump’s border wall to order a temporary stop to construction. By a vote of 5-4, the justices declined to lift a stay, entered just over a year ago, that allowed the federal government to continue to spend federal funds on construction while a legal challenge to the wall continues. The challengers had urged the Supreme Court to intervene last week, telling the justices that if the stay were not lifted, the Trump administration could finish the wall before the court even decides whether to take up the case on the merits.

The brief one-sentence order was the latest in the dispute over the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. The clash came to the court for the first time last year, after a federal district judge in California agreed with the challengers, the Sierra Club and the Southern Borders Communities Coalition, that government officials did not have the power to spend more than Congress had already allocated for border security. U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam barred the government from using $2.5 billion in funds originally earmarked for military-personnel funds to build the border wall, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit declined to stay that ruling while the government appealed. The Trump administration then went to the Supreme Court, which – by a vote of 5-4 last July — put Gilliam’s order on hold and allowed the government to use the Pentagon funds on the wall.

After the 9th Circuit upheld Gilliam’s decision last month, the challengers asked the Supreme Court to step in and lift the stay. Otherwise, they contended, the government would be able to finish the parts of the wall that are the subject of their challenge before the litigation concludes.

The Trump administration urged the court to leave its year-old stay in place. When the justices rejected the challengers’ arguments last year, U.S. Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall posited, they were “presumably aware that the result would be construction during litigation.” And in any event, Wall added, the government plans to file its cert petition seeking review of the 9th Circuit’s decision on Aug. 7, which would allow the justices to consider it at their first conference after the summer recess.

Justice Stephen Breyer filed a short dissent from the court’s denial of the challengers’ motion to lift the stay, which was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg (who, the Court’s Public Information Office reported, was discharged from the hospital today after undergoing a non-surgical procedure earlier this week), Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Breyer reiterated that when the court granted the stay last year, he had suggested a middle ground that, he said, would avoid irreparable harm on both sides of the dispute: Put Gilliam’s order on hold as far as it prevented the government from finalizing the contracts for the construction of the wall, but continue to bar the government from actually spending the Pentagon funds or beginning construction. “Now,” Breyer observed, the government “has apparently finalized its contracts, avoiding the irreparable harm” that it said justified the stay last year. Because Friday’s order allowing construction to continue may effectively serve as a final judgment in the case, Breyer explained, he would have lifted the stay of Gilliam’s order.

In a statement issued shortly after Friday’s order, an attorney representing the challengers emphasized that the justices’ “temporary order does not decide the case.” Dror Ladin, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, stressed that the Trump administration “has admitted that the wall can be taken down if we ultimately prevail, and we will hold them to their word and seek the removal of every mile of unlawful wall built.”

This post was originally published at Howe on the Court.

Source: Court Refuses to Halt the Construction of U.S./Mexico Border Wall

Amy Howe Independent Contractor and Reporter

Posted Fri, July 31st, 2020 6:16 pm

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Arizona, other states file lawsuit to halt Biden DHS final guidance on deportations

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According to this article on Fox News, by Ronn Blitzer, Andrew Mark Miller | Fox News

“FIRST ON FOX: Attorneys General from Arizona, Ohio, and Montana are suing the Department of Homeland Security over their immigration policy that they argue violates federal law by improperly halting most deportations.

The “Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil Immigration Law,” the states say, violates a legal requirement for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to deport anyone with a final order of removal against them within 90 days.”

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Migrant camps grow in Mexico amid uncertainty on US policy

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According to this article on Associated Press, by ELLIOT SPAGAT

“TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — As darkness fell, about 250 police officers and city workers swept into a squalid camp for migrants hoping to apply for asylum in the United States. Migrants had to register for credentials or leave. Within hours, those who stayed were surrounded by enough chain-link fence to extend twice the height of the Statue of Liberty.

The Oct. 28 operation may have been the beginning of the end for a camp that once held about 2,000 people and blocks a major border crossing to the United States. There may be more camps to come.

First lady Jill Biden sharply criticized a similar camp in Matamoros, bordering Brownsville, Texas, on a 2019 visit, saying, “It’s not who we are as Americans.” The Biden administration touted its work closing that camp in March, but others sprang up around the same time in nearby Reynosa and in Tijuana.

The camps, full of young children, are a product of policies that force migrants to wait in Mexico for hearings in U.S. immigration court or prohibit them from seeking asylum under pandemic-related public health powers. Uncertainty about U.S. asylum policies has also contributed to growing migrant populations in Mexican border cities, creating conditions for more camps.”

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Migrants granted asylum at higher rate under Biden administration, new data shows

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According to this article on Border Report, by Sandra Sanchez

“McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — Asylum-seeking migrants have experienced a higher success rate with their immigration cases under the Biden administration, according to new data.

A new report by Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a data and research organization at Syracuse University, found an uptick in the number of cases granted asylum since President Joe Biden took office.

Asylum case denials decreased from 71 percent in Fiscal Year 2020 to 63 percent in Fiscal Year 2021, which ended on Sept. 30. In other words, the success rates increased from 29% to 37% under the new administration, according to the report published Wednesday.”

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