Thursday, November 1, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He promised to break any laws necessary to keep people from seeking asylum in the United States.

Trump has spent most of the last few weeks saying anything and everything he can to stir up panic over immigration, apparently in the belief that it may help him pull victory from the jaws of defeat in the midterm elections. 

Today, he said people fleeing sexual abuse, political persecution, and horrifying gang violence were "not legitimate asylum seekers." To that end, he said he would only consider asylum applications from those who presented themselves at a port of entry—which have recently started turning refugees away.

Trump, who is the son and grandson and son-in-law of "chain migration" immigrants, and whose most recent wife is an immigrant who worked illegally in the United States, almost certainly doesn't intend to put most of his proposed immigration policies into place. He didn't even make it to the second month of his term before he completely abandoned his plans to somehow force Mexico to pay for his border wall. For that matter, he seems to have lost interest in ever actually building the wall.

But it doesn't matter whether Trump is lying or serious about this idea. Restricting asylum claims like this is illegal under the current law, and Trump doesn't have the power to change that by himself.

Why is this a problem?

  • In a democracy, presidents don't get to ignore laws that aren't convenient.
  • Voters who actually want stricter immigration enforcement deserve a president who actually gives some thought to immigration policy.