The New York Times’ editorial board is out with a new piece slamming Trump’s asylum ban and self-made immigration crisis. In it, the board points out that Trump “creates nonexistent threats, generates manufactured fears and prepares exaggerated responses, all leading to a erosion of the rule of law, to feed more fears.”
The editorial is excerpted below and available in full here.
Public safety, national security and the rule of law are among the incantations the Trump administration likes to chant when rolling out one of its deliberately and pointlessly cruel immigration policies. It evidently hopes that repetition will somehow insulate its actions from public or judicial scrutiny.
President Trump’s newest proclamation, made public on Friday, is yet another expression of this tactic. This time, Mr. Trump’s claim is that what’s happening hundreds of miles south of the United States-Mexico border “has precipitated a crisis” requiring extreme measures.
The latest rule enacts a wholesale, 90-day entry ban on any person trying to seek asylum at a place other than a port of entry. Requesting asylum anywhere else — say, after being captured crossing the Rio Grande — “would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.”
What interests, you might ask, and what crisis? The American border is not being overrun by asylum-seekers. Yes, the number of people applying for asylum has nearly doubled in the past two years, but apprehensions for illegal crossings remain far below historical highs. The United States has clear laws governing the asylum process and well-funded agencies to enforce those laws. There may well be a resource problem to process and adjudicate all outstanding asylum claims, but that does not a crisis make.
… According to Mr. Trump’s new proclamation, this “limited suspension” is necessary because of the migrant caravan traversing through Mexico en route to the southern border. “I therefore must take immediate action to protect the national interest,” Mr. Trump said, “and to maintain the effectiveness of the asylum system for legitimate asylum-seekers who demonstrate that they have fled persecution and warrant the many special benefits associated with asylum.”
… If Mr. Trump’s new ban sounds familiar, that’s because it rests on the same section of the immigration code that he relied on when he moved, in the dawn of his administration, to stop citizens from Muslim countries from traveling to the United States. After a lengthy legal battle, the Supreme Court upheld the president’s authority under the statute to issue such a ban, but not before the administration suffered defeat after defeat in the courts — each forcing officials to go back to the drawing board to create narrower, more circumscribed restrictions.
This time around, the administration seems intent on limiting its legal exposure by issuing an interim final rule making the case for why the asylum ban is needed and soliciting public comments. Under the Immigration and Naturalization Act, the government may issue regulations imposing “other conditions or limitations” on asylum, so long as the new rules are “not inconsistent with this Act.”
… Mr. Trump may have left some with the impression that, once the midterms were over, he had no more use for the caravan of Central American migrants that he had fantasized about to frighten his supporters to the polls. But like the Muslim ban, which was also gestated in a political contest, the one that elected him president, Friday’s asylum ban demonstrates that Mr. Trump’s nativist impulses are guides not just to his campaigns but also to his governing.
He creates nonexistent threats, generates manufactured fears and prepares exaggerated responses, all leading to a erosion of the rule of law, to feed more fears.