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Nativists Push for "Rule of Law," But Want to Deny it to Migrant Children

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Opponents of immigration reform like to crow about how the law is on their side.  They champion their opposition to undocumented immigrants as a matter of the “rule of law” and call attempts at compassion “amnesty.”  To read their arguments is to constantly run into statements like “what part of illegal don’t you understand” and “illegal is illegal.”

But when it comes to the Central American children fleeing violence, this rationale gets flipped on its head.  Under current domestic and international law, children who make it to our borders who have meet credible asylum criteria are supposed to be extended due process, and given their day in court to make their case.  But when it comes to the anti-immigrant opposition and these children, rule of law gets thrown out the window.  Conservatives don’t want to provide lawyers for these children.  They don’t want them to be able to have their say in front of a judge.  They clamor for the children to be removed immediately, no matter what danger they would be in when they return home.

And as the Center for New Community explained today, the usual suspects in opposing immigration reform — groups like NumbersUSA, the Center for Immigration Studies, and the Federation for American Immigration reform–are particularly guilty of this.  They cry about the rule of law, and then conveniently forget about it when it suits them.  Read more at CNC or check out the excerpt below:

Of course, through its lobbyists and allies in Congress, the influential cabal of organizations leading this movement in Washington, D.C., has been positioning to undercut further relief. In the past few days, two of the three organizations comprising that cabal have provided more evidence of their hypocrisy. 

One example appeared Monday night when NumbersUSA issued an email alert to its members, asking them to 1-click send a pre-written fax urging their senators to join the House in passing a bill designed to destroy DACA. In a little more than 150 words, NumbersUSA managed to squeeze in numerous mentions of an “unconstitutional executive amnesty program” (i.e. administrative relief), which they criticize even though it is constitutional, for which there is precedent and that will work within the existing law. 

Of course, none of those facts stopped Mark Krikorian, head of the Center for Immigration Studies, from providing our second example. Kirkorian – who so often writes like a large-lexicon’ed college freshman in love with the dialogic flourishes exhibited on HBO’s Deadwood – delved deep into his bag of rhetoric to produce the following:

But when a president proposes to issue a ukase amnestying millions of illegal aliens [….] it does indeed represent a leap into the antidemocratic dark.

But beyond those two examples, what has truly been “antidemocratic” and quite “dark” is how behind all this big talk about presidents acting like rogue power-drunk czars [“ukase”] are the starkest examples of the organized anti-immigrant movement’s “rule of law” hypocrisy: their all-out assault on the legal frameworks and precedents in place to process and ultimately to protect children fleeing the near pandemic of murders, rapes, and kidnappings plaguing a trio of Central American countries.

The anti-immigrant movement is pushing to:

  • Deny children an opportunity to tell their stories
  • Deny children access to lawyers
  • Deny children all semblance of due process

The rule of convenient hypocrisy (and cruelty) defines NumbersUSA, the Center for Immigration Studies and their allies as they coordinate to drum up politics solely to deny rights and the protection of lives—even those of young children.