[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] declined to hear an appeal [order list] by a group of Central American asylum-seekers Monday who hoped the Court would overturn a lower court's ruling preventing them from having their removal orders reviewed by a federal judge. The lead plaintiff in the case, Rosa Castro, fled [memo, PDF] El Salvador in 2015 with her young son, seeking asylum [Reuters report] from what she said was ongoing physical and emotional abuse by her husband. The lower court ruled that the status of the families, all of whom were apprehended in Texas, was akin to non-citizens and that they were therefore not entitled to a court hearing. The women and their children challenged in federal court the rejection of their asylum claims, alleging a violation of their constitutional right to due process [LII backgrounder]. The US Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia [official website] denied [opinion, PDF] their constitutional argument, holding that due to their status as non-citizens, they are not provided with constitutional rights of review if denied entry.
Immigration, deportation and the detention of immigrants has been a matter of national controversy for years and has been a particular focus of US President Donald Trump. The issue has culminated in lawsuits challenging [JURIST report] Trump's controversial executive orders affecting migrants. Last month, the US Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) released a report finding that a significant portion of federal law enforcement resources were directed to immigration-related offenses [JURIST report]. The analysis showed that half of all federal arrests in 2014 were related to immigration, with 61 percent of them occurring in five districts along the US-Mexico border. In January, seven days after his inauguration, Trump issued an immigration-related executive order, which limited migration from seven Muslim-majority countries, among other changes. These policies have been criticized as part of a larger overhaul of the country's approach to immigration undertaken by the new administration, largely departing [JURIST op-ed] from the policies of other post-WWII presidents.