Appeals Court Rules Denial of Asylum Seekers’ Access to Courts is Unconstitutional
NEW YORK — A federal appeals court has ruled that asylum seekers are entitled to federal court review of their expedited removal orders. The case, Thuraissigiam v. USDHS, was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has sweeping implications. Asylum seekers currently receive brief screenings from administrative officers who determine whether the person has a credible fear of persecution in their home countries. If an officer rejected the claim, the asylum seeker had no recourse to challenge the decision, or the manner in which it was made, in federal court. Asylum seekers in the Ninth Circuit now have that recourse as a result of this ruling.
Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, argued the appeal and had this reaction:
“The historical and practical importance of this ruling cannot be overstated. This decision reaffirms the Constitution’s foundational principle that individuals deprived of their liberty must have access to a federal court.”
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