America's Voice En Español »

America's Voice

 

LA Times & WaPo Editorials Hit on Trump’s Failures As His Policies Endanger American Citizens, American Justice, and American Values

 

As the Trump administration continues to introduce failing and barbaric immigration policies that are trampling on due process, threatening American citizens, and traumatizing entire communities, and quickly enjoined by the Judicial Branch, the editorial pages of the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post are taking the Trump administration to task. Both take on the new policy of extending “expedited removal” beyond the 100-mile limit from the border to the entire nation, thereby bypassing judges, courts, review and appeal for deportations.

The LA Times editorial, “Trump’s latest immigration outrage would turn the U.S. into a ‘papers, please’ nation,” is excerpted below, and available in full here.  

Three weeks ago, Border Patrol agents in Texas detained Francisco Erwin Galicia, an American-born U.S. citizen, on the presumption that he was in the country illegally (even though Galicia was carrying a Texas state ID card at the time.) Despite his protests, Galicia wasn’t released until Tuesday, after the Border Patrol finally transferred the 18-year-old to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, and after the Dallas Morning News reported on the debacle.

Meanwhile, Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-San Pedro) met an Ecuadoran mother and her 13-year-old U.S.-born daughter in a McAllen, Texas, detention center. The girl was being held despite having her American passport in her possession. After the encounter with the congresswoman last week, both the mother and child were released.

…The wrongful detention of U.S. citizens is just one example of the federal government’s increasing disdain for civil liberties and due process in its immigration enforcement system. Now, President Trump is pushing fresh policies to expand the use of “expedited removals” that will make grotesque violations of constitutional rights even more likely. According to a summary of the new rule by the American Immigration Council, an immigrant advocacy group, immigration officers have long been allowed by law and regulation to order the removal from the United States of any non-citizen at the border who lacks proper documents, as well as any undocumented migrant who has been in the U.S. for 14 days or less and is encountered within 100 miles of the border.

…The failures of the U.S. immigration system long predate the fiascoes of the current administration, but President Trump’s special animus toward immigrants — and the policies concocted by the hard-liners surrounding him — has pushed enforcement over the line separating reasonable actions from immoral ones, especially in a nation whose very birth was predicated upon immigration.

Yes, the government has a right and a duty to protect its borders and to control who gets to enter and, more profoundly, who gets to become an American citizen. But that does not justify denying due process to asylum seekers or detaining American citizens.

Hard-liners argue that people living in the U.S. without permission have broken the law and should be removed. And it’s true that many ought to be — particularly those who have been convicted of violent acts and other criminal transgressions. But the expanded expedited removal power targets people indiscriminately, including those with the clear right to request asylum or to make other arguments in American immigration courts.

To allow immigration agents far from the nation’s borders to summarily pluck people off the streets just because they don’t have ready access to proof that they have been here for two years puts far too much power in the hands of the immigration police. Particularly when racial profiling by low-level immigration agents occurs at an unconscionable level.

Fundamental issues of due process hang in the balance. Do we really want this to be a country in which uniformed officers can stop anyone and demand, “papers, please.”

The Washington Post editorial, “Another week, another anti-immigration measure from the Trump administration,” is excerpted below, and available in full here

ANOTHER WEEK, another draconian anti-immigration measure from the Trump administration. On Monday, U.S. officials said the government would bypass immigration judges (read: due process) as a means of swiftly deporting undocumented migrants who arrived in the past two years and neither applied for asylum nor await adjudication in the courts.

The measure is likely to face immediate judicial challenge by immigrant rights groups; it may be no more legal or constitutional than some other recent moves. Last week, just days after the administration announced with fanfare that it would bar most asylum applicants whose bids had not already been rejected in another country, the acting chief of Customs and Border Protection acknowledged that he expected the new rule was just a pilot program that would likely be enjoined by the courts. (A federal judge in Washington declined to halt the rule change Wednesday, while a judge in San Francisco has yet to rule on it.)

In its approach to the migrant crisis, the strategy employed by President Trump and his advisers seems aimed as much at the Republican base as at stanching the tide of Central Americans seeking to enter the United States. The administration’s spitballing stands in contrast to serious ideas that would overhaul asylum, detention and adjudication procedures to make the current dysfunctional system more rational, efficient and humane. Legislation introduced last month by Senate Democrats is a good-faith start along those lines.