In June 2020, in Department of Homeland Security v. Thuraissigiam, the Supreme Court of the United States rejected a constitutional challenge to Congress’s decision to eliminate habeas corpus jurisdiction over legal challenges to expedited removal orders by noncitizens in federal detention.
In Thuraissigiam, U.S. border patrol stopped the petitioner, Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam, a Sri Lankan national of Tamil ethnicity, shortly after he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border without inspection or an entry document. The petitioner asserted that he was fleeing persecution in his home country and sought asylum in the United States. The asylum officer concluded that Thuraissigiam had not established a “credible fear of persecution,” as defined by statute, and therefore was ineligible for asylum. The immigration judge agreed, which meant that Thuraissigiam was ordered removed. Thuraissigiam sought federal habeas review, arguing that the procedures that led to his removal order were deficient and that the immigration agents had failed to properly apply U.S. asylum law to his claim. The government, however, maintained that Congress had eliminated habeas review of claims by individuals subjected to expedited removal procedures, with limited exceptions that Thuraissigiam did not claim before the Supreme Court applied to his case. Thuraissigiam argued that these restrictions violated the Suspension Clause.