Supreme Court Ruling Challenges Biden’s Border Policies On Constitutional Grounds

In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 on Thursday that U.S. citizens do not have a constitutional right to ensure their noncitizen spouses are admitted into the country. This ruling comes as a significant rebuke to President Joe Biden’s recent executive order aimed at granting amnesty to noncitizen spouses of U.S. citizens.

The case stemmed from American Sandra Munoz, who sued the federal government after her husband, Luis Asencio-Cordero, an alleged MS-13 gang member, was denied a visa in 2015 due to “unlawful activity” suspected by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Despite Asencio-Cordero disavowing any gang affiliation and appealing the decision, the Department of State upheld the USCIS ruling. The Supreme Court’s decision effectively confirms that noncitizens have “no constitutional right to enter the United States.”

Muñoz argued that the denial violated her Fifth Amendment rights and her “fundamental right to marriage” by preventing her from living with her noncitizen spouse in the U.S. Initially, the Ninth Circuit sided with Muñoz, stating that the Due Process Clause entitled her to a “facially legitimate and bona fide reason” for her husband’s visa denial. However, the Supreme Court overturned this decision.

In the majority opinion, Justice Amy Coney Barrett stated that Muñoz’s claim “fails at the threshold” because it does not establish that bringing her noncitizen spouse to the U.S. is a constitutional right. Barrett emphasized that the right to admit noncitizens is not “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition” and that Congress has long regulated spousal immigration without guaranteeing specific outcomes.

Barrett pointed out that while Congress has streamlined the visa process for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, it does not ensure their admission as a right. “From the beginning, the admission of noncitizens into the country was characterized as ‘of favor [and] not of right,’” she wrote.

This ruling comes in the wake of Biden’s executive order, which aims to provide amnesty to half a million illegal immigrants, including those married to U.S. citizens. The order seeks to protect these noncitizens from deportation and grants them permission to reside and work in the U.S.

Although the Supreme Court’s decision does not directly address Biden’s executive order, it raises constitutional questions about the legality of granting amnesty to large numbers of noncitizens. The detailed opinion suggests that efforts to extend such protections may lack constitutional standing, posing a significant challenge to the administration’s immigration policies.

The ruling highlights a broader judicial pushback against policies perceived as overreaching executive authority in immigration matters. As Biden’s administration continues to navigate these legal and political complexities, the Supreme Court’s decision underscores the importance of adhering to constitutional principles in shaping immigration policy.

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