Since Donald Trump first announced his candidacy for president in 2015, cracking down on illegal immigration has been perhaps his signature issue. So it is no surprise that since Trump took office, the U.S. Supreme Court has seen a surge of immigration cases. The high court has already sided with the president on border wall funding, restrictions on asylum seekers, requiring immigrants to meet income requirements (the "public charge rule"), and a travel ban from certain countries with an elevated risk for terrorism.
Even with all of those cases decided, the Supreme Court's immigration business picked up even more this term. The high court has already heard six immigration cases since the current term began in October, with at least two more to come. The latest cases before the court include Trump's efforts to end the Obama-era DACA program, and expediting the removal of migrants caught after crossing the border.
And an even bigger case could still be in the pipeline. "The United States has sued to end California's sanctuary state law," says Christopher Hajec, attorney with the Immigration Reform Law Institute. "And if the (Supreme) Court takes the case and agrees, that would end sanctuary policies all over the country."
While some of the high court's rulings have been affirmative upholding of Trump administration policy, others have simply undone liberal lower court actions while legal challenges continue to play out. "In a number of areas, the court has suspended injunctions that lower courts had issued," says Hajec. "By suspending the injunctions, it means Trump can get on with building the wall, or the Department of Homeland Security can get on with the public charge rule."
Liberal groups will find like-minded judges to challenge and block Trump immigration policies, but the Supreme Court will likely continue to blunt the power of those judges. "Some of the cases the court will decide against the administration, but I think generally the effect in the end will be to re-establish the president's power over this area," says Hajec.