President Donald Trump this morning tweeted that the United States does not need to hire “thousands” of immigration judges to handle all of these asylum cases on the border as many of those caught illegally entering the country would never qualify for asylum in the first place:
We shouldn’t be hiring judges by the thousands, as our ridiculous immigration laws demand, we should be changing our laws, building the Wall, hire Border Agents and Ice and not let people come into our country based on the legal phrase they are told to say as their password.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2018
Trump was immediately called out for it, of course:
Has any American president ever shown such deep-seated and consistent distaste for due process? https://t.co/Mg7fLG6qNE
— Jon Fasman (@jonfasman) June 21, 2018
Well coincidentally, there has been another president who’s done just this!
Trump’s words echo the position of the Obama administration that also argued that migrants from these same areas of Central America would not qualify for asylum.
Josh Earnest, July 7, 2014:
“It is fair to say … It’s unlikely that most of the kids who go through this process will qualify for humanitarian relief, which is to say that most of them will not have a legal basis … will not be found through that court process to have a legal basis to remain in this country.”
“It’s unlikely that most of the kids who go through this process will qualify for humanitarian relief, which is to say that most of them will not have a legal basis … to remain in this country.”
White House Press Secretary
July 7, 2014 pic.twitter.com/LatsY2DuDx
— JO (@borninLXXXIII) June 20, 2018
While what Josh Earnest said above was specifically referring to unaccompanied minors — which fits Trump’s tweet anyway — the Obama administration also moved to deport families from Central America who had recently entered the U.S. illegally. From Politico:
“This past weekend, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) engaged in concerted, nationwide enforcement operations to take into custody and return at a greater rate adults who entered this country illegally with children,” Johnson said. “This should come as no surprise. I have said publicly for months that individuals who constitute enforcement priorities, including families and unaccompanied children, will be removed.”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest acknowledged “some discussions” between the White House and DHS over policy matters related to the raids, but did not get into specifics. He said President Barack Obama supports deportation of those who recently entered the U.S. illegally.
And from ThinkProgress in January 2016 where activists criticized the Obama administration for fast-tracking the deportation of families seeking asylum:
More than 100,000 Latin American families as well as unaccompanied children — many of whom are under the age of 12 — crossed the southern U.S. border in 2014 to flee violence in their home countries, prompting the U.S. government to respond by fast-tracking immigration court proceedings. In some cases, immigration lawyers complained that the 21-day turnaround for court proceedings didn’t give them enough time to represent unaccompanied minors in court, leaving as many as 61 percent of mothers and children without legal representation.
About 150 organizations signed a letter expressing opposition to the Obama administration for causing a “state of fear” among immigrant communities. “Raids would convey the message that these families are a threat to border security, when the reality is that most are asylum seekers in need of humanitarian protection,” the letter in part reads. “We urge you to renounce the use of such harsh tactics against this incredibly vulnerable group that has already suffered horrible, uncontrolled gang violence, domestic violence, and other forms of persecution.”
In other words, the Trump administration and the Obama administration are pretty close in what they’re trying to accomplish, but you wouldn’t know it from the coverage today:
2018: President of America says the country should refuse entry to asylum-seekers. https://t.co/7SLq6jce8y
— Garance Franke-Ruta (@thegarance) June 21, 2018
Hey, they didn’t call Obama the “deporter-in-chief” for nothing:
On this issue, former President Barack Obama aka the Deporter-in-Chief has no moral high ground. His administration deported the most people. His administration ramped up ICE. His administration ramped up family detention. #FreeOurFuture
— Rosa A. Clemente (@rosaclemente) June 20, 2018