The Trump administration has been dealt yet another major blow in their efforts to restrict access to the United States. Federal District Judge Richard Seeborg ruled this Monday that their months-old effort to get asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases are processed must end heading into this weekend.
The policy had affected asylum seekers arriving in the areas of the El Paso and Calexico ports of entry, with now former Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen having just recently directed DHS to prepare for its expansion. Seeborg ruled that:
‘There is no real question that [the policy] includes the possibility of irreparable injury.’
You’d hope that the United States government wouldn’t push a policy that could include injury in the first place — but the Trump administration has already proven they don’t adhere to even that nominal standard. Nielsen helped push their zero tolerance policy for undocumented immigrants seeking asylum at the border that included the punitive separation of arriving families and culminated in the imagery of kids and cages that’s indefinitely associated with the Trump team.
According to CNN, Trump has recently been seeking to have a broader version of that policy resinstituted that this time would include the separation of families arriving at legal ports of entry and even those apprehended within the United States. Throughout recent weeks and months, he has been seeking to shut down the entire process of accepting asylum seekers to the United States. Nielsen explained how that move would violate the law when she was still on the job — but even she isn’t around anymore to rein in the president.
Their attempt to have some asylum seekers wait in Mexico is far from the only similar move that’s been struck down by the courts. They’ve also seen their efforts struck down to restrict asylum to immigrants arriving at legal ports of entry and to restrict possible determinants of the “credible fear” necessary for an asylum claim, excluding gang and domestic violence.
During a recent visit to the Calexico area where he toured border barrier maintenance efforts, Trump explained his take on the asylum program overall, offering:
‘Asylum, you know I look at some of these asylum people, they’re gang members. They’re not afraid of anything… and they say ‘I fear for my life,’ they’re the ones causing fear for life. It’s a scam, it’s a hoax. I know about hoaxes, I just went through a hoax.’
It’s unclear what, if any “asylum people” he’s looked at to spark that rhetoric. Maybe he’s referring to another movie, since astute observers noticed that past rhetoric from Trump about immigrants storming the border with heavy duty vehicles, Muslim prayer rugs in tow, and trafficked women bound with tape had little apparent connection to reality but seemed lifted from the recent movie Sicario: Day of the Soldado.
You’d hope that a president of the United States wouldn’t base their globally reverberating policy decisions on something that even might have come from a movie and not real life but — here we are.
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