Chris Chmielenski's picture


  by  Chris Chmielenski

Pres. Trump named Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg. As a federal judge, Barrett has ruled on a couple immigration-related cases.

The Supreme Court's role on immigration has intensified due to significant changes made to immigration policy through executive action by former Pres. Obama and now Pres. Trump. Over the last several years, the Court has issued decisions on the DAPA and DACA executive amnesties, public charge, and the president's authority under 1182(f) to suspend immigration if it serves the national interest.

Past decisions and judicial philosophy provide some insight into how Barrett might approach immigration issues on the nation's highest court. Barrett is considered a textualist, meaning that her rulings tend to be based on the plain text of the law. Her recent opinions on immigration-related cases demonstrate this approach.

  • In June 2020, Barrett wrote a dissenting opinion in a federal court decision, Cook County v. Wolf, a federal court decision that struck down Pres. Trump's public charge rule that requires immigration officers to consider whether a green card applicant would need to access public benefits. She opined that because the rule only applies to new applicants for green cards and exempts refugees and asylees, among other vulnerable groups, it falls within the context of the laws passed by Congress that block admission for immigrants who could become public charges.
  • In January 2019, Barrett upheld a ruling by a lower court in Yafai v. Pompeo that a U.S. citizen could not challenge a consular officer's decision to deny a visa for his wife on grounds that she twice attempted to smuggle her children to the United States. Barrett upheld existing law that prohibits courts from reviewing consular decisions.

    "Congress has delegated the power to determine who may enter the country to the Executive Branch, and courts generally have no authority to second-guess the Executive's decisions."

CHRIS CHMIELENSKI is the Deputy Director for NumbersUSA

Updated: Mon, Oct 12th 2020 @ 9:10am EDT

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