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Supreme Court to hear challenges to border wall funding, Trump asylum policy

By Don Jacobson
Supreme Court to hear challenges to border wall funding, Trump asylum policy
A section of fence is seen on the U.S.-Mexico border in Tecate, Calif., in 2019. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 19 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday it will hear two cases challenging President Donald Trump's immigration policy -- funding for a border wall and making migrants wait out their asylum cases in Mexico.

The court granted hearings in Wolf vs. Innovation Law Lab and Trump vs. Sierra Club, which involve certain aspects of the Trump administration's controversial policies seeking to stem the flow of migrants from Mexico.

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Wolf vs. Innovation Law Lab challenges the "remain-in-Mexico" policy, under which the Department of Homeland Security is allowed to return migrants to Mexico while they wait for their asylum claims to be heard in the United States.

The "Migrant Protection Protocols" began in January 2019 as an emergency response to an expected large-scale migration from Central America.

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A federal judge blocked the initiative and ruled it violates U.S. immigration law and breaches international human rights norms. An appellate court later upheld part of the ruling, but the Supreme Court ruled in March the government could continue to enforce the program. It didn't rule on its legality, however.

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More than 60,000 migrants have been barred from U.S. entry since the policy was established and it has been credited by the department for lowering the number of border crossings.

The high court also said Monday it will examine Trump's moves to use $2.5 billion originally appropriated for the Defense Department to fund his long-promised border wall. Trump redirected the funds two years ago over the objections of House Democrats.

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In a suit brought by the Sierra Club and other opponents, the move was ruled illegal by an appellate court in June. The court said the administration's actions violated the Constitution's separation of powers, under which Congress has sole power to allocate spending.

Weeks later, the Supreme Court allowed the transfer to stand and sections of the wall to be built while litigation proceeded, despite objections that the funds would likely be spent before courts could make a final ruling.

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