Opinion

Pleas for border justice are aimed at the wrong end of Pennsylvania Avenue

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks about religious liberty at the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center's annual leadership mission on June 13, 2018, in Washington. Sessions announced that the Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against the Borough of Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, alleging that the borough and its zoning board violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA) when it denied zoning approval to allow the Valley Chabad, an Orthodox Jewish congregation located in Woodcliff Lake, to build a new place of worship on its land in the borough. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(RNS) — To their great credit, most American faith traditions view migration across borders as a complex issue with imperatives and tensions that change as you look through different lenses: economic, political, humanitarian, and theological.

Amid news reports about children separated from their parents at the border and sex abuse victims being denied asylum, religious leaders have spoken out this week in new, significant, and surprising ways.

This list includes almost every variety of mainline and black Protestants, as well as minority faiths and other groups whose religious and cultural history is closely tied to the migrant experience.

But this week, white evangelical leaders — traditionally the holdouts from the ecumenical consensus on immigration — joined the chorus. Elite evangelicals have often spoken out in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, a politically elusive fix to the current broken system, but not in recent memory have they joined the denunciations from more liberal church bodies and leaders.

So what’s new?

For one thing, the Trump administration is matching its nativist, anti-immigrant rhetoric with ever crueler policies. In April, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced his intention to remove sexual assault as a legal justification for seeking asylum.

Last month, in an effort to deter illegal border crossings, the government announced it would enforce a rule, waived by previous administrations, that mandates detained parents and children be separated.

Americans are already seeing heartbreaking stories from the border. One distraught father took his own life after he and his children were separated and jailed.

In the bleak light of these policy “innovations,” conservative faith leaders are changing their stands.

Even Franklin Graham, son of the late Rev. Billy Graham and one of Trump’s earliest and strongest supporters, rebuked the family separations.

It’s reassuring to know that Graham, normally such a cheerful apologist for Trump and his administration, draws the line somewhere.

But perhaps most interestingly, Graham, in his critique, spared Trump and Sessions, saying, “I blame politicians for the last 20, 30 years that have allowed this to escalate to the point where it is today.”

It’s Congress’ inability to pass decent immigration legislation that makes Sessions’ position tenable.

In 2013, the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration bill. If that bill had come up for a vote in the House any day in the past five years, it would have passed easily.

Unfortunately, nativist hardliners in the Republican Party have the power to thwart any legislative solution. They have exercised that power for years, as House Speakers John Boehner and Paul Ryan (both Catholics) cowered.

The problem that has brought us to this point on immigration is the GOP’s decision to stake its survival on being a white identity party.

Due to the complex psychology of race and voting choices, they may profit from that decision far longer than most of us think possible. A 2014 study by Northwestern University psychologists Maureen Craig and Jennifer Richeson found that the greater the perceived racial threat to the white minority, the more white voters — even Californian, independent white voters — will lean Republican.

So while the Southern Baptist Convention passed resolution at its annual meeting in Dallas this week that calls on politicians “to do everything in their power to advocate for a just and equitable immigration system,” the likely future House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican Southern Baptist from California, will be unmoved.

If you doubt this dynamic, note that this week, as faith leaders passed resolutions and preached sermons against the injustice at the border, nativist Republicans delayed action on immigration reform yet again.

We may seem to be near a breaking point. Rip a baby from its mother’s arms, and few preachers will stay silent.

But the conservative Christians in Congress stopped listening a long time ago.

The views expressed in this opinion piece do not necessarily reflect those of Religion News Service.

About the author

Jacob Lupfer

A contributing editor at RNS, Jacob Lupfer is a writer and consultant in Baltimore. His website is www.jacoblupfer.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jlupf. The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily represent those of Religion News Service.

73 Comments

Click here to post a comment

  • Conservative Christians built this monster, and now they’re torn between defending it, complaining that they’ve lost control of it, and blaming Democrats for it. Anything but accepting responsibility.

  • Bad news Brian, the laws in question were passed by the same folks who did Obamacare.

    The Federal court orders which prevent children from being with their parents in detention were issued by liberal Federal judges.

  • It seems that religious leaders have focused on all sorts of things, but for many years have not taught well the ideas of loving one’s neighbor and of honoring the stranger. That white identity politics still exist is clear evidence of he fact that these teachings have not received due emphasis.

  • The current immigration policy of Trump came right out of the White Supremacist playbook. Even using the same loathsome terms such as calling family based visas, “chain migration” or calling the Diversity visas “lottery visas”. All in an effort to attack LEGAL immigration because of the typical skin tone of those who use such visas. The hostility towards refugees is another example. Again legal immigrants under attack by the president and his neo-nazi support base.

    The efforts against illegal aliens amount to nothing less than terror tactics. ICE going after inoffensive easy targets to fill up quotas. Actions which also threaten legal immigrants and citizens alike in their heavy handed accountability free manner.

    Now they are trying to justify separating families and attacking access to legal counsel for illegal aliens in detention. Both of which try to speed up deportations by preventing rightful access of the means of defense and meaningful due process. The excuses for this sort of thing are not worth hearing. The people who support such measures are [expletive of choice].

  • So, which party do you think could accomplish “loving one’s neighbor and of honoring the stranger”?

    Then we’ll look at the actual legislation on immigration during the two administrations preceding the current one and see how they actually did.

  • If church leaders were successful in teaching love of neighbor and honoring the stranger, then those members of both parties who subscribe to the beliefs of the churches would work on legislation to reflect those values.

  • So what are you getting at? Obama was bowing to pressure that he was allowing illegal immigrants so he could bolster the roles of the Democratic party. That’s what Ann Coulter and other Right-Wing screamers claimed (Adios, America). Are you saying that Obama had antipathy toward illegal immigrants? Trump is likening ALL immigrants to MS-13. During the last elections in VA and in AL the Republican candidates’ commercials rose the specter of MS-13 in those states as well.

  • The Obama Administration chose to not enforce the laws.

    Illegal aliens got the message.

    The issue is not what zany comments Trump makes.

    The issue is whether or not we are going to enforce the laws.

    And, yes, MS-13 has become a major problem in some parts of the USA. It is not imaginary.

  • American children separated from their parents because their parents are incarcerated.

  • What laws did the Obama Admin choose not to enforce? Are you a lawyer? I’m an RN in a hospital and I treated lots of illegal aliens. Not one was MS-13. I worked in a prison and we had MS-13 there. We also had Warlocks, Latin Kings and a whole bunch of others that I can’t remember.

    Do you think that what the President of the United States of America says has no bearing on the climate of dialogue? When he threatens companies that don’t agree with him their stock goes down.

    Are you an absolutist when it comes to enforcing laws? Do you agree with Jeff Sessions’ exegesis of Romans 13?

  • You’re in the trenches and not typically listened to by those imposing blind justice upon the population regardless their immigration status. It’s funny how that justice isn’t so blind when there is the slightest scent of money in the air.

  • The Obama Administration did not enforce the laws requiring the arrest of people who entered the country illegally.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/post/obama-vs-the-rule-of-law/2012/06/16/gJQAKm8dhV_blog.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.d89040d57a9a

    “As Yoo notes, if Obama can systematically amend legislation without Congress, then ‘President Romney could lower tax rates simply by saying he will not use enforcement resources to prosecute anyone who refuses to pay capital-gains tax. He could repeal Obamacare simply by refusing to fine or prosecute anyone who violates it.’ Not enforce the Dodd-Frank financial legislation? Sure. Tell the Environmental Protection Agency to cease all enforcement actions? Fine.”

    “That the media elites who bleated about President George W. Bush’s purported ‘shredding’ of the Constitution are silent is tribute to the left’s intellectual hypocrisy and the strength of the totalitarian temptation. If it serves liberal ends then, presto, it is legal.”

    https://www.dailysignal.com/2014/02/14/7-times-obama-ignored-law-impose-executive-will/

    1. Delaying Obamacare’s employer mandate

    2. Giving Congress and their staffs special taxpayer-funded subsidies for Obamacare

    3. Trying to fulfill the “If you like your plan, you can keep it” promise—after it was broken

    4. Preventing layoff notices from going out just days before the 2012 election

    5. Gutting the work requirement from welfare reform

    6. Stonewalling an application for storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain

    7. Making “recess” appointments that were not really recess appointments

    http://skinnyreporter.com/selectivelawenforcement.html

    “The federal government will not enforce laws that the Obama Administration does not like, a top-level law enforcement official said today.”

    “Deputy Attorney General Anita Bath said a comprehensive review of federal laws is under way to determine which laws the Administration wants enforced.”

    “‘It is unfortunate that John Morton of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) said Friday that his agency might not process undocumented immigrants turned over by Arizona officials,’ she said. ‘We were planning to do exactly what he said, but we didn’t want to announce it to the public because of the sensitive nature of this matter.’”

    “‘For now people should just relax, especially undocumented immigrants. Be assured that this President, unlike previous Presidents, will not enforce laws just because Congress passed them. Any law that President Obama or his cabinet considers unconstitutional, poorly conceived, unfortunate or misguided will not be supported.’”

    “‘This President will not be swayed by public opinion, court rulings or Congressional dictates. The American people hired him to change America fundamentally, and in order to do that he must act independently and with great courage.’”

    https://www.npr.org/2016/08/31/491965912/5-things-to-know-about-obamas-enforcement-of-immigration-laws

    “5. The administration has used its discretion to shape immigration enforcement, except when the federal courts said no.”

    “In 2012, the administration granted a temporary reprieve from deportation to certain immigrants who were brought to this country illegally as children. More than 600,000 young people took advantage of the offer, which also enabled them to obtain work permits.”

    “In late 2014, President Obama tried to expand that reprieve to several million immigrants who are the parents of U.S. citizens or green card holders. Texas and other states challenged the move in federal court, and it remains on hold after a short-handed U.S. Supreme Court was unable to reach a decision this year.”

    http://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/203388-is-obama-enforcing-the-law

    “On issues ranging from marijuana legalization and criminal sentencing to healthcare and immigration, the president’s lieutenants have taken actions that critics say violate his constitutional duty to ‘take care that the laws be faithfully executed.’”

    “The administration has sought to deflect the criticism, claiming not only that the president has acted within his power, but that an obstructive Congress has left him no other choice. “

    “In testimony Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee, Obama’s top law enforcement officer, Attorney General Eric Holder, claimed ‘a vast amount’ of prosecutorial discretion in how the Justice Department enforces federal laws.”

    “‘I do think that the policy pronouncements that I’ve made in the recent months are consistent with the law and also are consistent with good law enforcement,’ Holder said.”

    “The remarks drew fresh criticism from those who say it reveals a flawed legal view that has served as the basis for executive overstep.”

    “‘The testimony reflected the near absolute view the administration has toward its powers,’ said Jonathan Turley, a liberal-minded George Washington University law professor who said he voted for Obama and generally agrees with administration’s policy positions.”

    “‘I do not agree that prosecutorial discretion supports the full range of unilateral actions that the administration has taken in these areas,’ Turley said.”

    And on and on and on.

    https://www.politico.com/story/2012/06/obamas-policy-strategy-ignore-laws-077486

    Do you think that what Obama did and said had no bearing on the climate of dialogue?

    When he failed to enforce immigration laws, illegal immigrants were emboldened.

    For the most part I am an absolutist when it comes to enforcing laws. If a government servant, elected or not, cannot in conscience enforce the laws, she or he ought to resign. Doing otherwise places his or her personal beliefs in opposition to the rule of law, and the rule of law is what keeps us from chaos.

    Jeff Sessions did not do an exegesis, he cited a single passage.

  • Just more spew from BobWorld there. Bob, there are plenty of job openings for you as a paid liar for the Trump Gang.

  • Which is being enforced by the compulsively lying a-hole so-called President that you whacko Christian nutcases are mainly responsible for voting into office.

  • And one way to address that issue would be to ue alternative sentences in cases of non-violent crimes and to reduce the length of sentences.

  • Odd, is it not, that this was not even on your radar yesterday?

    That’s the power of propaganda.

    This whole rhubarb is a political kabuki dance.

  • It’s an old saying, not a put-down.

    And it was necessary because dreamy wishful thinking does not advance the discussion.

  • It “was not even on [my] radar yesterday”?

    You have no way of knowing what is or is not “on my radar” anytime at all. So, please don’t make assumptions.

  • Although just my theory here, wanna know why “Franklin Graham … rebuked the family separations … [by] Trump and Sessions”? Here you go: he no like “canonical penalties”, see, and got scaredy cat-like all of a sudden when, “within minutes of opening the USCCB’s biannual meeting in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday (June 13), Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the USCCB and archbishop of Galveston-Houston, read aloud a statement deeply critical of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recent announcement regarding asylum qualifications. … ‘Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral,’ he added. … Bishop Edward Weisenburger of Tucson, Ariz., made [even] a bolder suggestion, raising the possibility of implementing canonical penalties for Catholics ‘who are involved in this,’ referring to children being separated from their families at the border. Canonical penalties can range from denial of sacraments to excommunication … And therefore, for the salvation of these people’s souls, maybe it’s time for us to look at canonical penalties.'”

    Source: Jack Jenkins, “Catholic bishops rebuke Trump’s asylum changes, suggest ‘canonical penalties’”, Religion News Service, June 13, 2018.

  • What legislation, exactly? Permanent open borders?

    People on all sides are avoiding offering specific solutions here (other than “Build The Wall” and “End Chain Migration”, which are problematic), because they know they do NOT have any specific solutions that can really resolve the overall immigration problem.

  • Suppose, for a moment what you claim is true, wouldn’t the jealous, little, orange turd be driven to do the opposite of Obama?

  • I’m not sure whether to be flattered because you did so much “research” or suspect that you are attempting to overwhelm me with citations and this is to pass as intellectual rigor. Let me analyze the sources of your post…

    I am not interested in anything by Jennifer Rubin. She is reflexively Republican and even if Obama were to turn water into wine at a wedding she’d accuse him of promoting alcoholism.

    Daily Signal is funded by the Heritage Foundation. The original idea for a health insurance mandate was theirs, was picked up by Mitt Romney for Massachusetts when he was Governor and used as a template for Obamacare.

    skinnyreporter.com? Never heard of it. It looks like it was put together by Angelfire. Not worth my time.

    In the NPR article I came accross this: What people don’t know is that Obama got tremendous numbers of people out of the country. Bush, the same thing. Lots of people were brought out of the country with the existing laws. Well, I’m going to do the same thing. That was President Trump praising GWB and Obama for limiting border crossings. Since then he has excoriated them both for the very same thing. Was he lying then or is he lying now?

    The article from thehill.com is interesting reading. I don’t think it is the nail in the coffin you think it is. Jon Turley is also in favor of prosecuting the Bushes for war crimes revolving around torture. He is often trotted out by Newsmax and The Daily Caller to say: “See? We have a Democrat who supports Trump’s policies.”

    Politico is a website I often read. They have had a lot of articles critical of Trump. Do you read those? More articles are critical of him than not.

    Now, Jeff Sessions. Have you ever heard the slogan by the Methodist Church: Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors? Sessions is a life-long Methodist. An exegesis is when someone offers an interpretation of Scripture and to assert that Sessions was merely sharing a verse is uninformed at best. He was trying to say that we Americans should follow the laws of the government because God ordained them to be in power so shut up already! We are to believe that as Pat Robertson said on The 700 Club show: I think, somehow, the Lord’s plan is being put in place for America and these people are not only revolting against Trump, they’re revolting against what God’s plan is for America.

    I don’t really have a lot of time to look at your cross-references. If you want to continue to debate I’d really like to confine it to the Jeff sessions issue if you don’t mind. I have a wife and three children and I work between 48-60 hrs a week as a registered nurse on the 7p-7a shift.

  • You asked what laws the Obama Administration disregarded.

    My response did not involve “so much ‘research’”, but when you open with “Let me analyze the sources of your post…” we know the conversation has concluded.

    Either the Obama Administration disregarded those laws, or it did not.

    Period.

    It did.

    I skipped the long history of that Administration refusing to cooperate with Inspector Generals and requests for information from Congress.

    When, after a long meandering walk through what you happen to like and dislike, you conclude with “I don’t really have a lot of time to look at your cross-references.”, and we know we’re dealing with an ideologue.

    There is not really a “Jeff sessions issue” to discuss.

    He is following the laws.

    You don’t like that.

    That’s what ideologues do.

  • Of course it means not only does he support the current repugnant actions but didn’t speak up when the opposition allegedly did it. Making him scum twice over.

  • MS 13 being a group with no more than a few dozen members in a few relatively small communities Not even close to the same threat level as the domestic terrorists who not only are largely ignored by Sessions but make up a vocal support bare for Trump.

  • What in the heck does “didn’t speak up when the opposition allegedly did it” mean?

    Who didn’t speak up?

    Who is “the opposition”?

    What is the “it” in “did it”?

  • The FBI estimates there are 10,000 members in the US. I agree with the Right that they are animals. (edit to add:) They are a small group compared to the estimated 1.4 million gang members in the US.

  • This zero tolerance policy (of Trump and Sessions) arresting all coming in to the US illegally. The WH is discouraging illegal immigration and forcing the Democrats to make concessions to Trump.

  • Actually the FBI didn’t. A Republican senator did. The number is widely inflated and exaggerated for effect.

    They make up less than 1% of the gang population in the US. Illegal aliens make up between 5-6 million people. Many members in the US are not even immigrants. Invoking MS 13 as an excuse to demonize illegal aliens is typical scare tactics.

  • Not a law, it’s a policy. 45 knows about policy’s….he repeatedly ignores them. Like, releasing his taxes, no nepotism, Emoluments Clauses.
    We’ll start with those & see how you can squirm out of them.

  • I am very sorry that you are completely unaware of the laws and the court order (Ninth District) which control the situation.

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/05/illegal-immigration-enforcement-separating-kids-at-border/

    “Where it becomes much more of an issue is if the adult files an asylum claim. In that scenario, the adults are almost certainly going to be detained longer than the government is allowed to hold their children.”

    “That’s because of something called the Flores Consent Decree from 1997. It says that unaccompanied children can be held only 20 days. A ruling by the Ninth Circuit extended this 20-day limit to children who come as part of family units. So even if we want to hold a family unit together, we are forbidden from doing so.”

  • But the WH really isn’t. Illegal immigration ebbs and flows with the economy and demand for cheap labor. Always has for the last 50+ years.

    Thw WH is making human trafficking related to illegal immigration more profitable, has made crimes in immigrant communities easier to commit and made exploitation of illegal alien labor easier to do.

    What the WH is doing now is filling quotas with easy targets and taking literal hostages to try to attack legal immigration as well. This is part and parcel with various white supremacist goals Trump and his advisors have sought.

  • Right now the demand for labor is through the ceiling.

    What the Government right now is enforcing the laws and a court order.

  • When a nativist is cornered and can’t rationally defend a policy, they make up crap about opponents being for “open borders”.

    BTW “End Chain Migration” means end most legal immigration. It is purely a slogan for white supremacists who are annoyed so many people of color are coming here above board.

    Its funny when you repeat memes from Neo-Nazis.

    “because they know they do NOT have any specific solutions that can really resolve the overall immigration problem.”

    There are many. Its just bigots would rather harass people of color using government agencies than consider them like:

    1. Reducing the penalty of illegal alienage (without fraud or felonies) to a stiff fine rather than deportation. (You pay, you stay)

    2. A right to counsel for those in immigration detention

    3. Manual labor visas.

    4. Revising our labor visa system to be portable to the immigrant rather than tied to the company. The old system is outdated and does not reflect the ways foreign workers are brought to the US

  • You cannot prosecute someone for breaking a POLICY.

    Don’t like it?

    Change the LAW.

    Chuck Schumer was tweeting this morning that he will resist any change in the law unless and until the Republicans agree to retroactively making lawful the Obama Administration’s unlawful granting of status to illegal aliens.

    If you fall this political kabuki dance, you deserve what happens.

  • Oh, Bob…. Stop blaming the black guy for your guy’s lack of foresight.
    What will come from this madness will affect you too. Do not doubt it.

  • Oh, Robin, stop being a propaganda toady for a group of sore losers who put out a neon sign “Border Wide Open – Feel Free to Violate It”, and have now mounted a propaganda campaign replete with crocodile tears, hankies, and fake news.

    The lawless black guy did the set up and his cronies are making sure nothing gets done about until after the mid-terms and they’ve milked it for all it’s worth.

    Then they’ll fold their tents and proceed to do … nothing.

  • Your party had eight years to accomplish this.

    In fact, as Obamacare showed, it had a supermajority.

    The fact that we’re still talking about says all we need to know.

  • DHS Secretary Nielson is correct. All those deliberate loopholes and clever kick-the-can-down-the-road moves from previous Congresses and Presidents (with the 8-year Obama Admin at the very top of the list, but obviously not excluding Republicans) have resulted in America having a functionally open border.

    Wide-open border, right now. A situation which favors innocent mothers and kids, but equally favors the crooks and the kid-killing MS-13’s. Trump seeks to close that border, but he’s 99.9% out of options — just like all the rest of America. The “zero tolerance” gig is pretty much a last hurrah, and public outcry may soon kill it. But the big problem remains untouched.

    Laws are worthless without enforcement, and the illegal immigrants know it. Plus there’s no $$$$ for any Wall — and not even enough $$$$ for any real Border Patrol. Things are what they are.

  • Actually, when you read everything Sessions said there, it IS a valid exegesis of Romans 13. But it’s a tough situation all the same, because decades of People Playing Political Games have now resulted in a crisis where America can’t escape the consequences anymore. Gonna be one consequence or the other.

    At this point, America must choose either (1) right-now zero tolerance or (2) permanent open borders, because the illegal immigrants have made it absolutely clear that THEY are going to keep right on coming anyway, as if the border didn’t exist at all. They’re not going to stop.

  • The crunch is already here, Spuddie. America’s hand is forced NOW on this one issue.

    So just be honest, and say whether you prefer (1) enforcing painful last-ditch policies like the “Zero Tolerance” gig, or (2) allowing permanent Open Borders period. One or the other. Because the illegal immigrants have already made it clear, that they will continue marching straight towards America as if our borders don’t even exist.

    We can choose, (and it’s not easy), or the illegal immigrants will make a choice for us. They know that our immigration laws have loopholes, and are worthless unless somehow given teeth.

  • You don’t want to address the points I made because they made sense and your position does not. You are presenting a false dichotomy. The answer is NEITHER.

    1) “Zero tolerence” has not worked as a policy for anything. 50 years of catch and deport and nothing to show for it. Do not bother to lie to me and claim no other presidents ever took a hard line on illegal immigration. Harsh policies do not act as a deterrent to illegal immigration. Because no matter how bad you make it, it will still be better than the conditions they left.

    2) “Open borders” is not a real position of anyone. So its not even worth discussing.

    I gave a number of useful suggestions you are trying to dodge. Oh well. You can’t get past canned talking points. You don’t know enough about the situation beyond purposefully ignorant and incorrect screeds.

  • https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/05/illegal-immigration-enforcement-separating-kids-at-border/

    “Separation happens only if officials find that the adult is falsely claiming to be the child’s parent, or is a threat to the child, or is put into criminal proceedings.”

    “It’s the last that is operative here. The past practice had been to give a free pass to an adult who is part of a family unit. The new Trump policy is to prosecute all adults. The idea is to send a signal that we are serious about our laws and to create a deterrent against re-entry. (Illegal entry is a misdemeanor, illegal re-entry a felony.)“

    “When a migrant is prosecuted for illegal entry, he or she is taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals. In no circumstance anywhere in the U.S. do the marshals care for the children of people they take into custody. The child is taken into the custody of HHS, who cares for them at temporary shelters.“

    “The criminal proceedings are exceptionally short, assuming there is no aggravating factor such as a prior illegal entity or another crime. The migrants generally plead guilty, and they are then sentenced to time served, typically all in the same day, although practices vary along the border. After this, they are returned to the custody of ICE.“

    “If the adult then wants to go home, in keeping with the expedited order of removal that is issued as a matter of course, it’s relatively simple. The adult should be reunited quickly with his or her child, and the family returned home as a unit. In this scenario, there’s only a very brief separation.“

    “Where it becomes much more of an issue is if the adult files an asylum claim. In that scenario, the adults are almost certainly going to be detained longer than the government is allowed to hold their children.“

    “That’s because of something called the Flores Consent Decree from 1997. It says that unaccompanied children can be held only 20 days. A ruling by the Ninth Circuit extended this 20-day limit to children who come as part of family units. So even if we want to hold a family unit together, we are forbidden from doing so.“

    “The clock ticking on the time the government can hold a child will almost always run out before an asylum claim is settled. The migrant is allowed ten days to seek an attorney, and there may be continuances or other complications.“

    “This creates the choice of either releasing the adults and children together into the country pending the ajudication of the asylum claim, or holding the adults and releasing the children. If the adult is held, HHS places the child with a responsible party in the U.S., ideally a relative (migrants are likely to have family and friends here).“

    “Even if Flores didn’t exist, the government would be very constrained in how many family units it can accommodate. ICE has only about 3,000 family spaces in shelters. It is also limited in its overall space at the border, which is overwhelmed by the ongoing influx. This means that — whatever the Trump administration would prefer to do — many adults are still swiftly released.“

    “Why try to hold adults at all? First of all, if an asylum-seeker is detained, it means that the claim goes through the process much more quickly, a couple of months or less rather than years. Second, if an adult is released while the claim is pending, the chances of ever finding that person again once he or she is in the country are dicey, to say the least. It is tantamount to allowing the migrant to live here, no matter what the merits of the case.”

    And the last sentence describes what the Obama Administration was doing.

  • It is unchristian and inhospitable to keep your doors and windows locked and refuse entry to whomsoever wants to squat inside your home and raid you fridge?

  • Nelson got caught in public, lying to the entire nation and then trying to backpedal from it.

    The borders are hardly wide open and MS-13 and crimes by illegal aliens are wildly exaggerated for bigoted effect.

    Trump is literally holding children hostage as a negotiation ploy for a reprepugnant white supremacy inspired immigration bill to attack LEGAL immigration for no rational purpose whatsoever.

    He has plenty of options. None involve putting children in concentration camps.

    Stop making excuses for wildly atrocious behavior. This is not about rule of law, this is about racism and abuse of people for political talking points.

  • …except that’s not what immigrants fleeing desperate situations in their countries are doing. Obviously, you despise children and have no moral compass. Please stay away from children.

  • Yep:

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2018/06/the-truth-about-separating-kids-at-the-border.php

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2018/06/the-truth-about-separating-kids-at-the-border-part-two.php

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/06/18/years-backlash-obama-policy-on-illegal-immigrants-children-was-also-slammed-by-critics.html

    As the last one demonstrates, the “Obama administration actually expanded the system of detaining families – typically mothers and their minor children – after a huge surge of Central Americans along the U.S.-Mexican border in 2014. The policy resulted in many minors being detained in various locations, in much-criticized conditions, either with their families or by themselves, if they had crossed the border alone.”

    “Videos and photos at the time showed children in tears, many of them still wearing dirty clothes, in detention facilities where they were kept with their families. The conditions — which ranged from six adults and children sleeping crammed on two mattresses laid out on concrete floors, to sick minors not receiving medical care — were documented in many news accounts and reports by human rights groups.”

    This, then, is basically a fabricated “emergency” that has been a decade in the making, which was exacerbated by the previous Administration which ruled by decree and, with a supermajority in Congress (e.g., Obamacare) sat on its hands because its real goal was open borders.

    If you and the other toadies to political propaganda wish to keep sucking on this lemon, be my guest.

    The American people, however, elected this President to close the border and he is going to do, with or without cooperation from the opposition.

  • Unfortunately for you, no.

    And more unfortunately for you, your opinion is of little consequence.

    The illegal immigration is going to be stopped whether you like it or not, the law is going to be enforced whether you like or not, DACA is not going to become a law whether you like it or not.

    But I can see why you wrote six days ago to me “I’ll take atheists an secular humanism.”

    Most people – given a choice – prefer Santa Claus to reality.

  • Don’t wanna close those political loopholes, eh? That’s what brought us to this point.

  • What political loopholes? You are ignorant of the system and the conditions here. Trump brought us to this point. Nobody else to blame.

    Gulags for children and ripping them from their parents were never the sole choice available. Only the most malicious, counter productive and appealing to bigots.

  • Super.

    Since you’re not arguing and you’re not contributing anything other than a bald-faced opinion, no loss.

  • LOL. Trump is ending this abomination as it began…..with unilateral action from his own administration.

  • .
    ” . . . or is put into criminal proceedings.”

    “It’s the last that is operative here. . . . . ”

    Nope — CBP/ICE is separating even families who properly apply for asylum at a legal point of entry.

    What’s “operative” is that Trump/Sessions/ Kelly/Miller are doing everything they can — legal and illegal — to DISCOURAGE anyone from seeking asylum, which is a right afforded by both US law and international law to which the US has acceded.
    .

  • .
    “As the last one demonstrates, the ‘Obama administration actually expanded the system of detaining families – typically mothers and their minor children – after a huge surge of Central Americans along the U.S.-Mexican border in 2014.'”

    This is a lie — the 2014 “surge” was of unaccompanied minors. Families were released together.

    It was never Obama (or Bush) administration policy to separate or detain families, except when the adults were deemed to be a threat to the child (eg, child smuggling or sex trafficking) or if the adult was also smuggling drugs.

    Otherwise, they were separated only for the few hours that the adults were in court, after which they were released, together, as a family. They were not criminally prosecuted.

    Pictures from the huge surge of unaccompanied minors that hit the southwest border in 2014 have recently gone viral. They purport to show that the Obama administration was caging immigrant children much as Trump is currently doing.

    However, there is more to the story than sensationalistic pictures:

    Business Insider: “Another former Obama official, Cecilia Muñoz, who served as the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, offered a similar explanation to NPR on Tuesday.

    “‘In 2014, we saw an enormous spike compared to what usually happens every year, in the number of kids crossing alone into the United States,” she said. “And we didn’t have enough shelter facilities, because we had a huge increase, so kids ended up piling up in Border Patrol lock-ups, which are no places for children.’

    “She continued:

    “‘What the Obama administration did, which is what the law requires, is to find shelter facilities for those kids, which were put together by the Department of Health and Human Services. So the goal was to get kids out of the Border Patrol, into proper care by HHS, and then HHS is supposed to release them to the least restrictive setting, and in more than 80% of the cases, that was their parents who were already in the United States.'”

    Over 80% of the unaccompanied minors were re-united with parents already in the US.

    So, the Obama administration was actually doing exactly the OPPOSITE of what Trump is proposing to do — re-unifying families as opposed to tearing them apart.

    https://amp.businessinsider.com/migrant-children-in-cages-2014-photos-explained-2018-5
    .

  • .
    “The illegal immigration is going to be stopped whether you like it or not, the law is going to be enforced whether you like or not, DACA is not going to become a law whether you like it or not.”

    Seeking asylum is not illegal — it is a right under US and international law.

    Trump, et al, are doing everything they can to deny this right and discourage anyone from exercising it.
    .

  • Seeking asylum legally involves showing up at an actual staffed border crossing and requesting asylum for one of the reasons in the treaties the US is party to.

    Rape is not one of the reasons under any treaty.

    Entering the country illegally is a crime, and then asking for asylum does not remedy the crime.

  • Your last paragraph has apparently been remedied.

    Anyone who was not prosecuted was the beneficiary of the Obama Administration’s failure to enforce the law.

    The Obama Administration began realizing what this was leading to and started changing procedures.

    http://dailycaller.com/2018/06/19/obama-prosecuted-half-million-illegals/

    https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/jun/20/sad-legacy-obama-border-orphans/

    The last couple of weeks has been a carefully orchestrated propaganda campaign and, now that the President has responded with an Executive Order, we see that the other side has no intention of fixing the laws.

  • .
    “Seeking asylum legally involves showing up at an actual staffed border crossing and requesting asylum for one of the reasons in the treaties the US is party to.”

    Listen to me, Bob — families HAVE been doing that, and STILL having their children taken away.
    .

  • .
    “Even Schumer has not accused the Republicans of doing anything illegal.”

    Maybe not, but the US District Court for the Southern District of CA has found the Trump Administration’s separation of families to be unconstitutional.

    Decision of UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA from two (2) weeks ago (06/06/18)

    This decision in a class-action suit finds that separating migrant children from parents is a violation of their Constitutional right to Due Process under the Fifth Amendment:

    “These allegations call sharply into question the separations of Plaintiffs from their minor children. This is especially so because Plaintiffs allegedly came to the United States seeking shelter from persecution in their home countries, and are seeking asylum here. For Plaintiffs, the government actors responsible for the ‘care and custody’ of migrant children have, in fact, become their persecutors. This is even more problematic given Plaintiffs’ allegations and assertions that there is a government practice, and possibly a forthcoming policy, to separate parents from their minor children in an effort to deter others from coming to the United States. This alleged practice is being implemented even when parents like Ms. L. and Ms. C. have passed credible fear interviews, and therefore, are positioned to present asylum claims meriting consideration by an IJ [Immigration Judge — dr] in their removal proceedings. These allegations sufficiently describe government conduct that arbitrarily tears at the sacred bond between parent and child, and is emblematic of the ‘exercise of power without any reasonable justification in the service of an otherwise legitimate governmental objective[.]’ Lewis, 523 U.S. at 846. Such conduct, if true, AS IT IS ASSUMED TO BE ON THE PRESENT MOTION [my caps — dr], is brutal, offensive, and fails to comport with traditional notions of fair play and decency. At a minimum, the facts alleged are sufficient to show the government conduct at issue ‘shocks the conscience’ and violates Plaintiffs’ constitutional right to family integrity. Accordingly, Defendants’ motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ due process claim is denied.”
    . . . . .
    ” As explained below, the Court finds it has jurisdiction over the case and venue is proper in this Court. The Court also finds Plaintiffs have set forth sufficient facts and a sufficient legal basis to state a claim that separation from their children while they are contesting their removal and without a determination they are unfit or present a danger to their children violates due process.”

    https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/field_document/71_mtd_order.pdf
    .

  • .
    ” . . . now that the President has responded with an Executive Order, we see that the other side has no intention of fixing the laws.”

    Not sure what you mean here — could you be a little clearer?

    Try to avoid euphemisms and epithets, if you don’t mind.
    .

  • .
    “Anyone who was not prosecuted was the beneficiary of the Obama Administration’s failure to enforce the law.”

    You’ve heard of prosecutorial discretion, right?

    Obama was exercising the same common-sense prosecutorial discretion as Bush and Clinton before him, as well as Trump in his first year if office.
    .

  • Prosecutorial discretion involves applying the light touch on a case-by-case basis – typically to accomplish justice or mercy.

    An example might be not prosecuting a high school student for the felony of taping a conversation with a teacher without informing the teacher he was being taped.

    The Obama Administration practiced wholesale disregard of laws in order to effectively rule by edict:

    https://www.politico.com/story/2012/06/obamas-policy-strategy-ignore-laws-077486

    1. Delaying Obamacare’s employer mandate

    The administration announced that Obamacare won’t be implemented as it was passed, so employers with 50 or more employees don’t have to provide the mandated health coverage for at least another year (and longer if they play their cards right). Slattery and Kloster observe that “The law does not authorize the president to push back the employer mandate’s effective date.”

    2. Giving Congress and their staffs special taxpayer-funded subsidies for Obamacare

    It was uncomfortable for members of Congress when they realized that, through Obamacare, they had kicked themselves and their staffs out of the taxpayer-funded subsidies they were enjoying for health coverage. But the administration said no problem and gave them new subsidies. In this case, “the administration opted to stretch the law to save Obamacare—at the taxpayers’ expense.”

    3. Trying to fulfill the “If you like your plan, you can keep it” promise—after it was broken

    When Americans started getting cancellation notices from their insurance companies because Obamacare’s new rules were kicking in, the president’s broken promise was exposed. He tried to fix things by telling insurance companies to go back to old plans that don’t comply with Obamacare—just for one year. Slattery and Kloster note that “The letter announcing this non-enforcement has no basis in law.”

    4. Preventing layoff notices from going out just days before the 2012 election

    There’s a law that says large employers have to give employees 60 days’ notice before mass layoffs. And layoffs were looming due to federal budget cuts in 2012. But the Obama administration told employers to go against the law and not issue those notices—which would have hit mailboxes just days before the presidential election. The administration “also offered to reimburse those employers at the taxpayers’ expense if challenged for failure to give that notice.”

    5. Gutting the work requirement from welfare reform

    The welfare reform that President Bill Clinton signed into law in 1996 required that welfare recipients in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program work or prepare for work to receive the aid. The Obama administration essentially took out that requirement by offering waivers to states, even though the law expressly states that waivers of the work requirement are not allowed. “Despite [the law’s] unambiguous language, the Obama administration continues to flout the law with its ‘revisionist’ interpretation,” write Slattery and Kloster.

    6. Stonewalling an application for storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain

    This was another case where the administration simply refused to do what was required by law. An application was submitted for nuclear waste storage at Yucca Mountain, but “Despite the legal requirement, the Obama administration refused to consider the application.”

    7. Making “recess” appointments that were not really recess appointments

    Basically there was a near constant parade to the courts, including the Supreme Court, during his entire Administration by individuals either harmed by his lack of law enforcement seeking redress or trying to compel performance.

  • In order to present themselves to CBP agent standing at the border and being arrested, they actually have to be in the United States.

    If they didn’t go through the official entry point, they’ve entered the country illegally.

  • .
    The linked Federalist article is rife with partisan lies and misrepresentations — I will not waste time in their enumeration.

    Its primary gist, though, seems to be “We have a Democratic Party unwilling to make any compromise on the issue even when we [sic] faced with a surge of migrant children.”

    No, Democratic Senators and Congresspersons will not capitulate to Trump’s attempted blackmail. They do not negotiate with terrorists.

    Trump’s “Zero Tolerance” border enforcement policy was devised and implemented without Democrats’ collaboration — it can be reversed without their “compromise”.

    The only Republican “fix” offered to date was Representative Goodlatte’s execrable Immigration Reform bill from January, updated to “address” the current “crisis”. Goodlatte’s bill could not win a majority of REPUCLICANS in either the House or Senate. Yet you seek to blame the Democrats.

    A bipartisan consensus on immigration reform DOES exist — the Gang of Eight’s comprehensive immigration reform bill.

    The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (S.744) passed the Senate (68-32) five years ago with broad bipartisan support, and would have passed in the House as well, if either Boehner or then Ryan had allowed a vote on it.

    They both kept promising Obama they’d bring it to the floor but never did. After over a year, Obama got tired of waiting — that is when he started issuing Executive Orders on DACA, etc. All his immigration EOs were based on the agreements in the Gang of Eight bill passed by the Senate.

    It would probably pass both Houses today, if it McConnell and Ryan allowed votes on it.

    A bipartisan consensus exists on immigration reform — it’s radical right wing Republicans that kept (and still keep) a compromise law from even being voted on.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Border_Security,_Economic_Opportunity,_and_Immigration_Modernization_Act_of_2013#Developments_after_Senate_passage_of_June,_2013
    .

  • .
    Spare me your diversions and deflections.

    We’re discussing Trump’s “Zero Tolerance” policy here, not your handy-dandy generic gripe-list of all the “sins” of Obama.

    Do not bother to Reply — I will no longer be participating in this sub-thread.
    .

  • .
    There is a case proceeding right now in Federal Court in southern California alleging that Trump’s breaking up of migrant families is a violation of the migrants’ right to Due Process under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.

    The Court recently denied the Trump DOJ’s motion to dismiss:

    Decision of UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA (06/06/18)

    “These allegations call sharply into question the separations of Plaintiffs from their minor children. This is especially so because Plaintiffs allegedly came to the United States seeking shelter from persecution in their home countries, and are seeking asylum here. For Plaintiffs, the government actors responsible for the ‘care and custody’ of migrant children have, in fact, become their persecutors. This is even more problematic given Plaintiffs’ allegations and assertions that there is a government practice, and possibly a forthcoming policy, to separate parents from their minor children in an effort to deter others from coming to the United States. This alleged practice is being implemented even when parents like Ms. L. and Ms. C. have passed credible fear interviews, and therefore, are positioned to present asylum claims meriting consideration by an IJ [Immigration Judge — dr] in their removal proceedings. These allegations sufficiently describe government conduct that arbitrarily tears at the sacred bond between parent and child, and is emblematic of the ‘exercise of power without any reasonable justification in the service of an otherwise legitimate governmental objective[.]’ Lewis, 523 U.S. at 846. Such conduct, if true, AS IT IS ASSUMED TO BE ON THE PRESENT MOTION [my caps — dr], is brutal, offensive, and fails to comport with traditional notions of fair play and decency. At a minimum, the facts alleged are sufficient to show the government conduct at issue ‘shocks the conscience’ and violates Plaintiffs’ constitutional right to family integrity. Accordingly, Defendants’ motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ due process claim is denied.”
    . . . . .
    ” As explained below, the Court finds it has jurisdiction over the case and venue is proper in this Court. The Court also finds Plaintiffs have set forth sufficient facts and a sufficient legal basis to state a claim that separation from their children while they are contesting their removal and without a determination they are unfit or present a danger to their children violates due process.”

    https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/field_document/71_mtd_order.pdf
    .

  • Once it’s litigated there will something to discuss.

    The suit was brought where it was because the ACLU has found the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is somewhere left of “Whoopee!” and will grant nearly any relief for nearly any legal theory.

    Its track record in the Supreme Court is spotty.

    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/06/14/alan-dershowitz-final-nail-in-aclus-coffin.html

    By coincidence Alan Dershowitz and I severed contact with the ACLU the same year.

    It is a highly politicized lobby for the left and has recently dropped its last pretensions of being a neutral civil rights organization.

  • .
    “The suit was brought where it was because the ACLU has found the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is somewhere left of ‘Whoopee!’ and will grant nearly any relief for nearly any legal theory.”

    O-o-o-r-r-r . . . . .

    The suit was brought where it was because that is the district in which the violation of the Constitution occurred.

    It’s not yet at the Appeals Court level.
    .

ADVERTISEMENTs