Supreme Court Might Give Opinions on Immigration Policy

(ESPAÑOL) The Supreme Court will be viewing cases in the upcoming months which might shed light on their views on the current immigration policy.

The outcomes could indicate whether the justices are retreating from long-standing decisions that give the president and Congress great discretion in dealing with immigration, and what role administration policies, including the proposed ban on visits to the United States by residents of six majority Muslim countries, may play.

President Donald Trump has pledged to increase deportations, particularly of people who have been convicted of crimes. But Supreme Court rulings in favor of the immigrants in the pending cases “could make his plans more difficult to realize,” said Christopher Hajec, director of litigation for the Immigration Reform Litigation Institute. The group generally supports the new administration’s immigration actions, including the travel ban.

For about a century, the court has held that, when dealing with immigration, the White House and Congress “can get away with things they ordinarily couldn’t,” said Temple University law professor Peter Spiro, an immigration law expert. “The court has explicitly said the Constitution applies differently in immigration than in other contexts.”

Two of the immigration cases at the court offer the justices the possibility of cutting into the deference that courts have given the other branches of government in this area. One case is a class-action lawsuit brought by immigrants who’ve spent long periods in custody, including many who are legal residents of the United States or are seeking asylum. The court is weighing whether the detainees have a right to court hearings.

In the other case, the court has taken on a challenge to an unusual federal law that makes it easier for children born outside the United States to become citizens if their mother is an American and harder for them if their father is the U.S. citizen. Even after legislation in 1986, children of American fathers face higher hurdles claiming citizenship for themselves.

Both cases were argued before Trump became president in January, and the Obama administration opposed the detainees’ claims and the citizenship challenge.