Judge James Boasberg, who sits on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, issued a preliminary injunction blocking the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from arbitrarily detaining people who follow the legal rules to seek asylum, reports The Hill.
Boasberg said all he was doing was making DHS follow the government policy it has admitted it is required to follow.
“The issuance of injunctive relief… serves only to hold defendants accountable to their own governing policies and to ensure that plaintiffs receive the protections they are due under the Parole Directive.”
What the judge is saying is that the law, the DHS rules and years of precedent have established a path for those seeking asylum to legally contact the U.S. and request asylum, which a judge must then consider.
If no judge is immediately available, the precedent is to let the asylum seeker remain in the U.S. until a hearing is held.
Although Trump and Sessions claim what they call “catch and release” means most of these people just disappear inside America and never show up for court dates, that is not true.
While about 75 percent of all migrants show up for court hearings, the percentage among asylum seekers is considerably higher, according to data compiled by PolitiFact, and published on June 26.
Politifact also counters the Trump administration claim that only extremely harsh punishments effectively inhibit illegal crossings but rather a humane program encourages legal immigration:
“Before the Trump administration ended the program in June, participants had a 100 percent attendance record at court hearings. They also had a 99 percent rate of check-ins and appointments with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”
Another way to increase compliance, they suggest, is to place monitoring equipment on each person, which might be expensive, but then so is having thousands of ICE agents, judges and lawyers tied up with the system.
There has been a big increase in migration from Central America because of corrupt governments, poverty, and gangs afflicting the countries.
Under Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions removed several common qualifications for a person to enter the U.S. seeking asylum, effectively rendering the U.S. asylum program useless.
In order to seek asylum, one must be on U.S. soil. Though there are legal entry points at which one may apply, Session’s new laws made it impossible for those escaping gang or domestic violence be considered for asylum. Since those particular types of violence can turn deadly, many desperate refugees opt to attempt an illegal crossing so that they may apply for asylum.
If they choose to do so, they are now considered criminals and are therefore separated from their children who cannot be placed into detention facilities intended for adults under U.S. law.
That policy ended somewhat quickly after the efforts of several journalists exposed the internal operations of some of these detention camps, sparking global outrage and forcing Trump to sign an executive order fixing the problem he created.
When he signed the order as a public relations move to get the heat off him, Trump knew his order would violate the established rule of law that no child may be held in detention for more than 20 days – so he ordered Sessions to go change that law.
In reality, very few of the children who were taken have yet to be returned to the parents even if it means being put with them into a detention center or jail.
Now, this judge is saying the law concerning children is still intact and so is the American policy of offering asylum to the victim of terrible conditions elsewhere – and if anyone is going to rule differently it needs to be a federal judge, not Sessions and his cronies.
The ruling came on a class action suit filed by the ACLU, which argued that DHS had created a blanket policy of detaining asylum seekers who went voluntarily to ICE offices in Detroit, El Paso, Los Angeles, Newark, and Philadelphia.
“This ruling means the Trump administration cannot use indefinite detention as a weapon to punish and deter asylum seekers,” Michael Tan, senior staff attorney for the ACLU Immigrant Right Project, said in a statement.
This follows a San Diego judges ruling that gave Trump less than a month to reunite parents and children, which so far has yet to begin.
What Trump has done is wrong on all counts – violating the law and depriving people of their human rights.
This judge’s ruling is emblematic of the system of checks and balances created by the country’s forefather’s and intended to prevent another monarchy like the one they travelled thousands of miles and raped and pillaged their way to escape. Unfortunately, Trump’s team is working around the clock to rig the judiciary in his favor, ending this system for good.
That is why it is essential to vote this November.