The Supreme Court on Thursday sided with the Trump administration, ruling that immigrants whose requests for asylum in the U.S. have been rejected do not have the right to contest the denials in federal court.
The high court's 7-2 ruling determined that those seeking asylum were not entitled to habeas corpus, which would allow them to plead their case against an expedited deportation.
The case involved Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam, who was arrested after he illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border near San Diego.
He informed a Customs and Border Protection officer that he feared for his life after he had been kidnapped and tortured by Sri Lanka government intelligence officials.
The interviewing officer concluded that Thuraissigiam did not have a credible fear because he lacked evidence of persecution.
Asylum-seekers must prove their lives are at risk due to race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political affiliation, per U.S. immigration policy.
The court's decision was written by Associate Justice Samuel Alito.
"While aliens who have established connections in this country have due process rights in deportation proceedings, the court long ago held that Congress is entitled to set the conditions for an alien's lawful entry into this country and that, as a result, an alien at the threshold of initial entry cannot claim any greater rights under the Due Process Clause," Alito wrote.
Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented.