On Monday, courts temporarily blocked the Trump administration from attempting to make it even more difficult for asylum seekers to enter the United States, per the AP. The administration’s Nov. 9 proclamation forced migrants displaced by war, discrimination, domestic or gang violence to enter only at ports of entry. Attempts to enter elsewhere would make them ineligible for asylum, essentially forcing them to turn around or cross illegally.
As Trump has made abundantly clear, he’s terrified of the slow-moving migrant caravan. This proclamation was a direct reaction to what he’s called a “national security threat.” It’s not the first time Trump’s pulled this card, either. Last year, when he tried to enact the Muslim ban, he was using the same presidential power and even the same logic. After the Supreme Court blocked that xenophobic shutout, the President gave up and decided to bully another group of people.
Trump proves time and time again that he outright doesn’t care that the people affected by his proclamation were forced to choose between crossing the desert or dying in their home countries. Forcing asylum seekers to enter through a port of entry is not the solution. As it stands, those crossings are already overflowing with people trying to legally enter the U.S. The AP reports that families are forced to wait in shelters and camps on the Mexico side of the border for weeks. Trump’s move only exacerbates that issue.
Legal groups agree. The ACLU took immediate legal action upon hearing about the proclamation, and U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar ruled in their favor on Monday. The Obama nominee writes, “Whatever the scope of the President’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden.” In other words, the president shouldn’t be able to change laws on a whim.
In the 10 days that the policy was in effect, 107 people attempted to cross in between designated ports of entry. The Department of Homeland Security is unclear on whether those people will be granted asylum, let alone if they’ll even be eligible to apply. Another hearing is scheduled for Dec. 19, when the ruling will be revisited.