Trump won two immigration battles, but expect the fight to continue

Donald Trump.
(Image credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Trump had an exciting Friday as he basked in the glow of two seemingly major victories concerning immigration.

First, he announced that the U.S. had reached a "safe third country" agreement with Guatemala, requiring migrants — namely from Honduras and El Salvador — to seek asylum there rather than the U.S. The president then learned of the Supreme Court's split decision, in which conservative justices held the majority, overturning a lower court ruling that barred the government from diverting $2.5 billion in Pentagon funds to build a portion of a wall at the southern border.

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Both announcements, for the time being, serve as a boon for Trump, who made curbing immigration at the southern border a central promise of his presidential campaign. But the opposition does not appear to be retreating. The American Civil Liberties Union, for example, which represents the groups suing over the wall construction, said litigation will continue.

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"This is not over," Dror Ladin, staff attorney with the ACLU's National Security Project, said. "We will be asking federal appeals court to expedite the ongoing appeals proceeding to halt the irreversible and imminent damage from Trump's border wall."

As for Guatemala, legal groups in the U.S. are waiting for more details on the agreement, but they expect to ask a judge to block it from going into effect. They argue that Guatemala should not qualify as a place of refuge for those fleeing violence, as it is considered a dangerous country in its own right. Guatemala's Constitutional Court had also granted three injunctions preventing its government from agreeing to the deal without congressional approval.

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Tim O'Donnell

Tim is a staff writer at The Week and has contributed to Bedford and Bowery and The New York Transatlantic. He is a graduate of Occidental College and NYU's journalism school. Tim enjoys writing about baseball, Europe, and extinct megafauna. He lives in New York City.