Trump Calls for an End to Due Process for Immigrants at the Border in Most Illegal Act Yet

Painting/"On The Other Side"/Gwynne Duncan

In what may be his most extremist demand yet, Donald Trump Tweeted Sunday that ordinary due process must end for many immigrants. Trump wrote that; “We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country. When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came.” Trump’s pronouncement is without precedent in modern American history.

Immigrants entering the United States who may face persecution in their homelands are entitled to an interview with a trained asylum officer who determines if they have a “credible fear” of being harmed if turned away from the United States. If they have a credible fear, they are scheduled for a hearing with an immigration judge. The president cannot unilaterally end these protections. To do so would violate both the Immigration and Nationality Act and the Procedural Due Process Clause of the Constitution.

It also violates basic American beliefs about fairness towards any accused individual.

The demand for immediate deportation without hearing also contradicts the administration’s so-called Zero-Tolerance policy announce in May. Under that policy, persons entering without authorization are supposed to be prosecuted for criminal misdemeanors. Such prosecutions cannot take place if the same immigrants are immediately deported.

As with so much else of Trump’s border policies, this new initiative, if a Tweet can be dignified with that name, is completely lacking in coherence.

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