Department of Homeland Security v. Thuraissigiam

140 S. Ct. 1959 (2020)

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Department of Homeland Security v. Thuraissigiam

United States Supreme Court
140 S. Ct. 1959 (2020)

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Facts

Sri Lankan national Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam (defendant) crossed the southern border of the United States. The border patrol stopped Thuraissigiam 25 yards inside the border for unlawful entry. Under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA), Thuraissigiam was set for expedited removal from the United States. To avoid removal, Thuraissigiam applied for asylum, claiming he feared returning to Sri Lanka because he had been abducted and beaten there. The asylum officer believed Thuraissigiam. However, the officer denied the asylum claim because Thuraissigiam did not fear persecution based on membership in a group that asylum protects. The supervising asylum officer also rejected Thuraissigiam’s claim. An immigration judge affirmed. Thuraissigiam petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus in federal court, alleging, for the first time, that he feared persecution due to his political views and Tamil ethnicity. In the petition, Thuraissigiam asked the court to give him a new chance to seek asylum based on his new credible-fear allegations. Thuraissigiam did not ask to be released from custody. IIRIRA prohibited any judicial review of credible-fear determinations, including habeas corpus petitions. The district court dismissed the petition. The Ninth Circuit reversed, ruling that IIRIRA’s prohibition on habeas petitions both unconstitutionally suspended the writ of habeas corpus and violated asylum seekers’ constitutional right to due process. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Alito, J.)

Concurrence (Breyer, J.)

Concurrence (Thomas, J.)

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