Trump instructs border agents to break law; also wants more widespread family separations

By | April 8, 2019

CNN reports:

Last Friday, the President visited Calexico, California, where he said, “We’re full, our system’s full, our country’s full — can’t come in! Our country is full, what can you do? We can’t handle any more, our country is full. Can’t come in, I’m sorry. It’s very simple.”

Behind the scenes, two sources told CNN, the President told border agents to not let migrants in. Tell them we don’t have the capacity, he said. If judges give you trouble, say, “Sorry, judge, I can’t do it. We don’t have the room.”

After the President left the room, agents sought further advice from their leaders, who told them they were not giving them that direction and if they did what the President said they would take on personal liability. You have to follow the law, they were told.

Senior administration officials also told CNN that in the last four months or so, the President has been pushing Nielsen to enforce a stricter and more widespread “zero tolerance” immigration policy — not just the original policy started by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and undone by the President once it was criticized — that called for the prosecution of individuals crossing the border illegally between ports of entry, resulting in the separation of parents from children.

According to multiple sources, the President wanted families separated even if they came in at a legal port of entry and were legal asylum seekers. The President wanted families separated even if they were apprehended within the US. He thinks the separations work to deter migrants from coming.

Sources told CNN that Nielsen tried to explain they could not bring the policy back because of court challenges, and White House staffers tried to explain it would be an unmitigated PR disaster.

“He just wants to separate families,” said a senior administration official. [Continue reading…]

The New York Times reports:

A California judge on Monday blocked President Trump’s efforts to force asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases are adjudicated by the immigration courts — a practice that immigration advocates called inhumane and illegal.

Judge Richard Seeborg of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California found that existing law did not give the Trump administration the power to enforce the policy, known as “migrant protection protocols,” which were introduced in San Diego and expanded to other parts of California and Texas.

The judge said in his ruling that in addition to violating immigration laws, the protocols did not include “sufficient safeguards” to comply with the Department of Homeland Security’s obligation against returning migrants to places where their “life or freedom would be threatened.” [Continue reading…]

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