DHS v. Thuraissigiam

140 Supreme Court 1959 2020
noncitizenswhoseek shelter in this countrymay be cast to an unknown fateasour constitutional protectionshinge on the vicissitudes of the political climateandtheGovernmentandCourtflattenassertionsofpersecutionandTorture

Habeas petitions are a fundamental way to seek review of decisions where people are being held in custody. They have been used in the U.S. since 1789. In this case, the Supreme Court limited this recourse in the context of immigration. It upheld an administrative scheme for the expedited removal and deportation of immigrants without a judicial hearing, even those seeking asylum, if the person cannot prove to an immigration official that they have lived within the United States for more than two weeks, have a credible fear of persecution, or are apprehended within 100 miles of a border.

Here, Thuraissigiam, a Tamil political activist from Sri Lanka, was seeking asylum on the basis of political and ethnic persecution. Although a lower court ruled that the administrative scheme did not meet constitutional requirements, because it disallowed judicial review of whether the Department of Homeland Security had complied with procedures for credible fear determinations, the Supreme Court reversed the decision 7-2. This has crippled the process for those seeking asylum who do not have the ability to pursue legal entry and are forced to attempt to cross at a border.

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