When last we left President Trump, he was being briefed on what legal options existed when the caravan showed up at the U.S./Mexico border.
Let’s listen in and see if the President has come up with a plan!
“So let me see if I have this all straight. International law says that someone has to be in the country to apply for asylum which could also include a legal port of entry. But the way we’ve interpreted things over the years, if they come in i-l-l-e-g-a-l-l-y, then can still ask for asylum even if they’re apprehended by ICE?”
“Yes, Mr. President.”
“And then we have this thing called expedited removals that gives ICE the authority to immediately remove illegals who have been in the United States 14 days or less if they encounter them within 100 miles of the U.S. border with either Mexico or Canada. However, at the moment it does not apply to refugees, asylees, or asylum seekers.”
“Yes Mr. President.”
“And they just need to know the magic words to ask for asylum.”
“Yes Mr. President. If they can convince an interviewer that they ‘will be persecuted on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion if returned to his or her home country,’ they’ll get a second interview.”
“Just to be clear. What’s Congress doing to fix this mess?”
“Nothing Mr. President. Zip, zero, nada. A little Spanish lingo there!”
“And, again, why is the language in international law so vague about where the asylum seeker needs to ask for asylum? Seems to me they’d just say ‘port of entry’ and be done with it.”
“Well, Mr. President. In many countries in the Middle East and in many undeveloped countries, the borders are unclear. Also, there may be no legal way for an immigrant to actually make it to a port of entry that might be willing to take them in. And, of course, in some countries if you show up at a port of entry, you’ll be shot!”
“Well I can see that! But we’re talking about the United States and Mexico here! We have really nice roads and there’s a big beautiful sign that says ‘Port of Entry.’ I’m pretty sure we don’t shoot people coming in our Ports of Entry although remind to ask the new guy over at Justice.”
“Yes. Mr. President.”
“OK. I have a plan!”
“I want to sign a rule requiring all asylum seekers to present themselves at a port of entry. If they’re in the country illegally and they want to apply for asylum, they have to leave the country and apply at a port of entry like everyone else. No more of this we’ll let them in and try to catch them in the first 100 miles. They can utter their magic words but they’ll do it at a port of entry where we can do things in an orderly manner. This is all perfectly reasonable and I can’t believe anyone would have a problem with it!”
Here’s the rule if you’re so inclined to read it.
In the next episode, we’ll discuss whether any of the Ninth Circus judges were trampled in the stampede to put a stay on the new rule.