Appeals court rules asylum-seekers can go before a judge

Everyone agrees that American citizens should have the right of due process.  But what about illegal aliens and asylum-seekers?

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled unanimously that a man who crossed the U.S.-Mexican border in order to seek asylum in the U.S. has a right to go before a judge to hear his plea.

The case involves a Sri Lankan man who says he was tortured in his home country after joining the armed opposition to the government, the Tamil Tigers.  Escaping his country, he made his way to Mexico, where he crossed the border in 2017 and was immediately apprehended by the Border Patrol.  A Border Patrol officer questioned him and determined he did not have a sufficient case to apply for asylum.

But the appeals court ruled that those denied asylum in their initial claim have a right to go before a judge.  The ruling sets up a showdown at the Supreme Court that could radically expand the rights of those who enter the country illegally.

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Actually obtaining asylum is significantly more difficult, and most people do not end up receiving asylum.  The Trump administration last year rolled back an Obama-era expansion of potential asylum justifications, which extended protections to those alleging domestic abuse or gang-related attacks back home.

The White House argued that the asylum system was already overburdened, and that asylum law was never meant to provide safe haven to everyone suffering unfortunate circumstances in their homelands.  The number of asylum seekers has ballooned in recent years, and immigration officials say it's in part because migrants know they will be able to live and work in the U.S. while their cases play out.

That process could take years, in part because the immigration court has a backlog of more than 700,000 cases.

In his case, Thuraissigiam said that the agent rejected his claim after conducting only a cursory hearing, refusing to hear important contextual details that would have bolstered his plea.  He asked for a court hearing to appeal the decision, but was denied it.  The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued on his behalf.

The 9th Circuit panel agreed that Thuraissigiam has a right to go before a judge.

The 9th Circuit is notorious for its radical-left decisions, and this one is not at all different.

We've been on a slippery slope with regard to expanding the rights of illegals for several decades.  It's why there is a backlog of more than 700,000 immigration cases.  The U.S. immigration legal system simply wasn't designed to handle this tsunami — something immigration lawyers take full advantage of.

In fact, by the time an immigration judge gets around to hearing a case today, the illegal probably has a job, a place to live, and establishment in the community.  And if he lives in a sanctuary city or state, he can even commit a crime and not be deported. 

Can't we strike a balance between the rights of illegals and the necessity of protecting our borders and our security?  A three- to five-year backlog in hearing asylum cases simply isn't acceptable, either for the asylum-seeker or the American people.  But as long as open borders advocates see clogging up the legal system as the best way to achieve their goals, the situation is only going to get worse.

Perhaps the Supreme Court will rule on the impracticality of allowing appeals by asylum-seekers.  It should certainly be a determining factor in whether this vast expansion of due process rights becomes law.

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