TrumpWatch, Day 521: Trump — No Judges or Courts for Deportations

“When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came.”


Developments on Day 521 of the Trump Administration:

Also: Trump Repealing Obama Order Protecting Oceans and Great Lakes


After the detentions of children separated from undocumented immigrant parents, Donald Trump goes a step farther with the call to deport immigrants without any legal proceedings.

Trump has pointed to his Administration’s bypassing of legal processes since the separations crisis escalated two weeks ago. He told a rally last week that he was not interested in legal cases, only in stopping anyone from crossing the US border. He has railed against a proposal to ease tensions, made by Republican Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, for more judges, saying this would only put unqualified people on the bench and lead to graft.

The setting aside of the legal process has also been evident in the Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, with its April order to break up families who crossed the US border. Officials were mandated to detain parents and children, before they could exercise their legal right to reach a port of entry and claim asylum.

See also TrumpWatch, Day 520: Defying Chaos, Trump Declares An Election War v. Immigration

On Sunday, Trump was explicit on Twitter in his rejection of any rule of law over immigration:

Trump shouted in another tweet, “Cannot accept all of the people trying to break into our Country. Strong Borders, No Crime!”

As well as trying to shut down the courts, Trump continued to undermine any effort to pass an immigration bill which would include a provision on separations and detentions.

Last week, as Republicans discussed two competing bills before the House of Representatives, Trump declined to support either. Then on Friday, as a vote was delayed until this week, he sabotaged the chances of passage by saying that it was futile to proceed without a “super-majority” of 60 votes in the Senate, where the GOP has only 51 seats.

Instead, Trump — following the line of his advisor Stephen Miller — appears to believe deadlock and continued furor, irrespective of the cost to individuals, is the best approach for Republican victories in mid-term Congressional elections.

See VideoCast with CNN: Trump Is Detaining — and Losing — Immigrant Children to Win an Election

He repeated on Sunday:

Trump supporters tried to provide political cover on Sunday talk shows for the bypassing of the courts. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin insisted — without addressing the right to seek asylum and the decline of border crossings year-on-year since 2001:

We have been encouraging illegal immigration. We don’t have the capacity to handle all the unaccompanied children, all the family units that are now flooding our border because of a host of judicial decisions, legal precedent and laws.

Facing the return of only 20% of separated children to their parents — 522 of more than 2,500 — and reports that many others cannot be reunited because of chaos and lack of records, Johnson echoed Trump’s tactic of trying to pass blame onto Barack Obama and Democrats: “We’ll continue our oversight on that, but the track record in the prior administration wasn’t particularly good either.”

Senator Bernie Sanders noted that, while there was “concern” about the Obama Administration’s approach:

Under Obama, there was not a policy that says if you are a mom with a little boy coming over the country, we’re going to grab that boy, put him into a detention center, which will clearly cause long-term psychological problems for that kid.

Detainees: Agree to Deportation and You Get Your Children Back

Central American men held in a detention facility in Texas are being told they can reunite with their detained children at the airport if they sign a voluntary deportation order.

A Honduran man estimated that 20 to 25 men who have been separated from their children are at the IAH Polk County Secure Adult Detention Center, a privately-operated Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility 75 miles outside Houston. He said the majority of those detainees had received the offer of reunification in exchange for voluntary deportation.

The 24-year-old detainee said he abandoned his asylum case and agreed to sign voluntary deportation paperwork Friday out of “desperation” to see his 6-year-old daughter, separated from him in late May.

“I was told I would not be deported without my daughter,”, he said. “I signed it out of desperation…but the truth is I can’t go back to Honduras; I need help.”

Two attorneys verified the detainee’s account. Anne Chandler, Houston director of the Tahirih Justice Center, a national organization that advocates for immigrant women and girls, said she heard an almost identical story from another Central American immigrant

Carl Rusnok, an ICE spokesman, said the agency “cannot research vague allegations”, but would do so if given specific details about the immigrants who made the claims: “It is unprofessional and unfair for a media outlet to publish such allegations without providing names, dates and locations so that these allegations can be properly researched.”

A Homeland Security and Health and Human Services fact sheet released Saturday said parents can “request that his or her minor child accompany them,” but that “many parents have elected to be removed without their children”.

Months of Bureaucracy for Any Reunion

The New York Times tells the story of Lidia Karina Souza, from Brazil, and her 9-year-old son Diogo:

Souza, 27, and her son turned themselves in to the Border Patrol on May 29, declaring that they had a fear of returning to their home country and wished to obtain asylum in the United States. The following day, an agent used Google Translate, she said, to explain to her — as Diogo erupted in tears — that because she had not presented herself at an official port of entry, she had entered the United States illegally; therefore she would go to jail, and he would go to a shelter. The son saw his mother being handcuffed.

“I told him, I’m not going to jail,” she recalled in an interview conducted in Portuguese. “I am going to a place with other mothers. You are going to a place for children.”

Souza is now free from detention and allowed to talk to Diogo — twice a week, for 10 minutes at a time. But her quest for a reunion is burdened with demands for scores of pages of documents about her and a family with which the pair will shelter in Massachusetts:

The last straw, she said, was the fingerprint request last week. A case worker notified Ms. Souza that she and two other adults in the household would have to visit a designated location in their area to be fingerprinted — on July 6. Her request to get back her son would then take 22 days to be approved, she was told.

“They said she can only get the child in August,” said Jesse Bless, her lawyer. “That is completely unacceptable. What kind of process for reunification is this?”


Trump Repealing Obama Order Protecting Oceans and Great Lakes

Donald Trump is repealing an Obama Administration executive order protecting the Great Lakes and the oceans bordering the United States.

In his own order, Trump is promoting those who drill for oil and natural gas. “Ocean industries employ millions of Americans and support a strong national economy,” he declares, mentioning energy production, the military, freight transportation, and other industries.

The statement tries to cover environmental issues by asserting, “This order maintains and enhances these and other benefits to the Nation through improved public access to marine data and information, efficient interagency coordination on ocean-related matters, and engagement with marine industries, the science and technology community, and other ocean stakeholders.

Obama’s policy was written in 2010, shortly after the deadly BP Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling explosion and its 87-day oil spill. It established a federal council with the responsibility to oversee various programs and decisions about the oceans or Great Lakes.

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

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