Happy “Constitution and Citizenship Day”!
Over the past 606 days, Trump and his appointees have waged a relentless campaign of psychological warfare on refugees and immigrants of every stripe and status. In the process, the administration has violated international human rights laws, basic norms of human decency, and the Constitution – the very document that the President has sworn an oath to defend.
Today, hundreds of immigrants across the country will take that same oath in naturalization ceremonies commemorating “Constitution and Citizenship Day.” They will be granted citizenship only after pledging allegiance to the Constitution.
Specifically, they will swear an oath to “support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
The irony is plain.
In our current dystopia, the greatest enemy of the Constitution is, of course, the President himself, who violates his constitutional allegiance in efforts to prevent others from pledging theirs.
And these efforts have been wide-ranging, impacting policies and procedures in nearly every office of the executive branch. For example:
In the State Department, the refugee office is now headed by Andrew Veprek, an immigration hard-liner who worked under Stephen Miller in the WH and who supports a plan to move the office out the State Department or shut it down altogether. He also rejected the UN’s position that governments have a “duty” to condemn hate-speech, nationalism, and xenophobia.
The citizenship office is now overseen by Frank Cissna, another hard-liner who removed the phrase “nation of immigrants” from USCIS’s mission statement and established a dedicated “denaturalization task force” to target US citizens. He also coordinated with ICE to arrest people during their green card interviews.
The FBI is facing increased bureaucracy as it works to complete background checks on refugee applicants.
Immigration courts are overwhelmed with the unprecedented number of prosecutions and the re-opening of hundreds of thousands of previously closed cases – while also having their discretion and independence questioned by the very agency that oversees them.
Health and Human Services has lost track of children. They have also made it more difficult to find foster homes for them, after the Department of Homeland Security introduced a new information-sharing rule between ICE and the Office of Refugee Resettlement that endangers undocumented household members.
A proposed rule change in the State Department would make anyone with a household member (including citizen children) who has ever benefited from SNAP, the Affordable Care Act, or the Earned Income Credit ineligible for citizenship, thus affecting the Department of Agriculture, HHS, and the IRS.
The Commerce Department’s Census Bureau is adding a question regarding citizenship status to the 2020 census.
The Justice Department has narrowed the definition of asylum to exclude domestic abuse and gang violence. The Attorney General has counseled new immigration judges to avoid “sympathy” on the bench.
Homeland Security has ended TPS programs for 6 countries, putting hundreds of thousands of refugees at risk of deportation.
ICE is detaining US citizens, defying court orders to stop detaining asylees, targeting rural areas in an effort to deprive detainees of legal counsel, using inmates as forced labor, and deporting stateless Mauritanians back into slavery.
Border Protection is coercing people to sign deportation forms and denying due process.
Meanwhile, the administration is pushing to end the diversity lottery, withdrawing from legal agreements that had prevented them from detaining children indefinitely, and has all but admitted that they never had any intention of reuniting children separated from their parents at the border.
Moreover, under new policies, if you make a mistake on an application form, you’re deported. Run a stop light – deported. Drop your kid off at school – deported.
And we haven’t even mentioned the Muslim ban or DACA.
...in celebration of national “Constitution and Citizenship Day,” we offer the following (unexhaustive) inventory of the President’s many violations his oath of office and of the U.S. Constitution. Hopefully those who swear the oath to the Constitution today will do a better job of upholding it than our current president.
In the 606 days since his inauguration, President @realDonaldTrump has:
- Suggested that the death penalty might be appropriate for the author of an anonymous op-ed criticizing him (Articles I, II; 1st, 5th, 8th, 14th Amendments).
- Stripped intelligence officials of their security clearances as a punishment for criticizing his actions (Article II).
- Lauded a deal to hand over US diplomats to the Russian government for interrogation (Articles I, II, III; 5th, 14th Amendments).
- Pledged his trust in in a foreign adversary over that of the government he leads (Articles II, III).
- #MfqD2v3jWmq7">Confessed to more than one felony on Twitter and on national television (Article II).
- Attempted to tamper with witnesses in a federal investigation (Article II).
- Attempted to tamper with jurors in a federal investigation (Article II).
- Obstructed justice, publicly and privately, in multiple state and federal investigations (Article II).
- Condemned the United States Attorney General for investigating and indicting Republicans during an election year (Article II).
- Requested that critics be jailed by the Justice Department (Article II).
- Accelerated the termination of a government official in order to prevent him from receiving benefits (8th Amendment).
- Failed to “faithfully execute” the law by actively sabotaging laws such as the Affordable Care Act. (Article II).
- Barred individuals from citizenship if they or anyone in their household signed up for ACA health insurance, which, in many cases, they are required to do by law (Article II; 1st Amendment).
- Established a denaturalization office (14th Amendment).
- Denied due process to those accused of civil violations of the law (Article II; 5th, 14th Amendments).
- Targeted so-called sanctuary cities/states with criminal and financial sanctions (Article IV).
- Executed “cruel and unusual punishments” by separating migrant families at the US-Mexico border (8th Amendment).
- Screwed up DACA (Article II).
- Encouraged federal agencies to conduct unlawful searches and seizures and pressured state and local governments to the same (Article II; 4th Amendment).
- Pardoned former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of criminal contempt of court for defying a judicial order demanding that he adhere to the US Constitution in the discharge of his duties, having been found to have violated the 4th and 15th amendment rights of those he unlawfully targeted (Articles II, III).
- Rescinded multiple government regulations in an effort to “dismantle the administrative state” (Article II).
- Threatened to revoke the broadcast licenses of news outlets that air criticisms of him or his policies (Article II; 1st, 5th Amendments).
- Barred specific reporters from events because they asked questions he did not want to answer (Article II; 1st, 5th Amendments).
- Convinced the DOJ to include sale of CNN parent company as potential requirement for government approval of corporate merger (Article II; 1st, 5th Amendments).
- Labeled the free press as the “enemy of the people” in order to “discredit” and “demean” the media (Article II; 1st Amendment).
- Suggested limiting the first amendment, calling it “disgusting” (1st Amendment).
- Violated the constitutional rights of Twitter users (1st Amendment).
- Violated constitutional protections of religious freedom through the “Muslim ban” (1st, 5th, 14th Amendments).
- Questioned and interfered with the independence of the judiciary (Article III).
- Condoned multiple violations of the Hatch Act (Article II).
- Allowed the Secret Service to prevent service of lawsuits/subpoenas (Articles II, III).
- Accepted foreign emoluments (Article I).
- Accepted domestic emoluments (Article II).
- Used the office of the President of the United States for personal profit (Article I).