April 9, 2019
Disorder by Design
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has released a report on immigration policy, Disorder by Design: A Manufactured U.S. Emergency and the Real Crisis in Central America. The report is specifically focused on IRC’s work in El Salvador and more recent work in the United States. There is some great background in the report on policy initiatives by the Trump administration. The core theme of the report – that Trump is creating disorder at the border to create a sense of crisis for political purposes – is convincing.
The director of the URC, David Milliband, gave an interview with the Guardian about the report. From The Guardian:
In an interview with the Guardian from IRC’s headquarters in New York, Miliband said that Trump’s approach to immigration amounted to “disorder by design".“The administration needs to create the evidence to justify its immigration policies – it is using the concept of crisis to create the justification for government by executive fiat.”
The national emergency declared by the US president in February to bolster his plans for a border wall were denounced by Miliband as “manufactured crisis”. He said: “By no standards of national or international precedent would you describe it as a crisis, even in the communities affected in the southern US.”
Meanwhile, thousands of vulnerable people are suffering because of the removal of US protections, slow processing of their asylum claims and cuts in federal aid, he said. “The people who pay the price for government policy failure are the most vulnerable and least able to cope, whether Americans who are on the edge or Central Americans who are over the edge. That is a great danger.”
Trump instructs border patrol agents to break the law...yeah
Jake Tapper writes for CNN online, that the president instructed border patrols agents to simply refuse entry to people seeking asylum, and that he is pressing to ramp up family separations again - even for families that present at ports of entry. Read the full story here.
Last Friday, the President visited Calexico, California, where he said, "We're full, our system's full, our country's full -- can't come in! Our country is full, what can you do? We can't handle any more, our country is full. Can't come in, I'm sorry. It's very simple."
Behind the scenes, two sources told CNN, the President told border agents to not let migrants in. Tell them we don't have the capacity, he said. If judges give you trouble, say, "Sorry, judge, I can't do it. We don't have the room."
After the President left the room, agents sought further advice from their leaders, who told them they were not giving them that direction and if they did what the President said they would take on personal liability. You have to follow the law, they were told.
On family separation,
Senior administration officials also told CNN that in the last four months or so, the President has been pushing Nielsen to enforce a stricter and more widespread "zero tolerance" immigration policy -- not just the original policy started by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and undone by the President once it was criticized -- that called for the prosecution of individuals crossing the border illegally between ports of entry, resulting in the separation of parents from children.
According to multiple sources, the President wanted families separated even if they came in at a legal port of entry and were legal asylum seekers. The President wanted families separated even if they were apprehended within the US. He thinks the separations work to deter migrants from coming.
Sources told CNN that Nielsen tried to explain they could not bring the policy back because of court challenges, and White House staffers tried to explain it would be an unmitigated PR disaster.
With Nielsen out now, will the president look for someone even more compliant? It is a real danger. "At the end of the day," a senior administration official said, "the President refuses to understand that the Department of Homeland Security is constrained by the laws."