Trump administration's effort to speed removal of migrants seeking asylum headed to Supreme Court

Richard Wolf, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON –One of President Donald Trump's many efforts to crack down on asylum-seekers at the border is headed to the Supreme Court.

The justices agreed Friday to consider the administration's effort to speed the removal of thousands of migrants without allowing them federal court hearings. 

A federal appeals court in California ruled earlier this year that efforts to remove asylum-seekers under "expedited review" procedures violated their constitutional rights. The Justice Department argues that extending the streamlined process could add years of court wrangling.

The case is one of several challenging the Trump administration's efforts to crack down on migrants seeking asylum after crossing the Mexican border:

• In December, the Supreme Court temporarily blocked a policy aimed at denying asylum to migrants crossing the border illegally rather than at designated crossings. 

• Last month, the justices temporarily upheld a different policy denying asylum to those who do not seek protection first from a country they pass through, such as Mexico.

Migrants lined up in Matamoros, Mexico, in August for a meal donated by volunteers from the U.S. at the foot of the Puerta Mexico bridge that crosses to Brownsville, Texas.

The high court already has a major immigration case on its plate this year. In November, it will hear the administration's argument for ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program created in 2012 by President Barack Obama.

The case granted Friday concerns a citizen of Sri Lanka who crossed the border illegally and was apprehended immediately by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He said he feared returning to his native country, but those claims were deemed to be unfounded in immigration court.

Congress in 1996 created the expedited review system in which thousands of undocumented immigrants are removed each year, often within days of arrival. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit declared the truncated system unconstitutional.

The Justice Department argues in court papers that the 9th Circuit's ruling will "significantly delay removal of aliens ... undermining the government’s ability to control the border."

After losing the case, the administration in July expanded the expedited removal system to incorporate asylum-seekers apprehended anywhere in the country who have not been continuously present in the United States for two years.

The American Civil Liberties Union, representing the Sri Lankan asylum-seeker, had urged the justices to reject the administration's appeal "so that the political branches are not entirely unchecked when they deprive individuals of liberty."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Supreme Court will consider Donald Trump's crackdown on asylum-seekers