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Trump Readies Another Ban To Make Himself Feel Better

President Today Set To Invoke Emergency Powers To Block Asylum Seekers At Southern Border

Specifically, he’ll ban asylum seekers from entering the country at any point that is not an official port of entry. If they do, they will be arrested for breaking the law.

Now you might ask “what’s wrong with that?” There are several really good reasons that there’s a lot wrong with what the President’s expected to do:

First of all, it’s just not the law. U.S. Code Title 8, section regarding asylum states very plainly:

“Any alien who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States (whether or not at a designated port of arrival and including an alien who is brought to the United States after having been interdicted in international or United States waters), irrespective of such alien’s status, may apply for asylum in accordance with this section or, where applicable, section 1225(b) of this title.”

There are 6 exceptions, which we might as well also spell out for you here as well . What it boils down to is asylum seekers can be turned away if they have committed crimes against humanity, violent crimes, or might be terrorists. Here’s the specific language:

If the President doesn’t like the law, then he and Congress can change it. He might even get some support right now. But bending and crashing into long-standing law of the land is irresponsible and reckless. As is adopting a policy of declaring virtually everything a matter of national security so that he can take unilateral action. That’s not the way to go if you want to have a stable Republic. Especially since Trump’s party — until next year — controls the House and Senate. So he has all the tools to do it the right way. He just doesn’t want to. Also, since Trump ultimately won his “travel ban”, he doesn’t really see much downside to taking this one to the Supreme Court too, where it’s almost certain to end up.

Secondly, there are often good reasons refugees who are really in peril cannot present themselves at established ports of entry like airports. It’s not by accident that the law specifically states “whether or not at a designated port of arrival”.

Separately, in another case that’s almost certainly going to end up before the Supreme Court, a panel of federal judges ruled against the Trump Administration’s efforts to end DACA. That’s the program that allows children of undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S., where many of them have been since childhood. The President has expressed interest in allowing DACA to continue, but has wrapped that request into all kinds of draconian changes to legal and illegal immigration laws, and full-funding for his wall.

In their decision, the judges made clear they are not challenging the President’s Executive powers. Instead they assert the Trump administration’s judgment that the program cannot legally be continued is incorrect: “arbitrary and capricious under settled law”.

We should also remind you the effort to kill DACA was spearheaded by Trump’s former Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, who was almost giddy when he announced it. Which is why we suggested in a column several weeks ago that you “Shed No Tears For Jeff Sessions”.

There are a lot of stories today speculating on whether Trump’s acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker might recuse himself from the Russia investigation on account of all the derogatory things he said about it before he was the acting Attorney General. Without knowing any of the people involved, let us settle that one for you: he won’t. In fact, we don’t even know why this is a story. Of course he won’t. Trump made it very plain he wants somebody in the job with an unyielding priority of protecting Trump. Whitaker never would’ve gotten the job in the first place if there was any chance in hell he’d recuse himself.

What is interesting is the number of legal scholars who have come forward and asserted Trump’s appointment of Whitaker in the first place, which hinges on a technicality, is illegal. Most notably in a piece by Neal Katyal and George Conway (Kellyanne Conway’s husband) in the New York Times. Problem is, Whitaker is already on the job, and even if courts eventually prove that opinion out, it’s very hard to undo things that he already may be doing.

Trump’s also potentially got a major First Amendment case on his hands, involving another ban: that of CNN reporter Jim Acosta from the White House. Because a President can’t just ban a reporter from a major news organization because he doesn’t like them, or doesn’t like what they say about him. At the same time angry letters from press associations won’t do much good either. We like the suggestions Jennifer Rubin offers in her column in the Washington Post:

  1. Acosta/CNN should sue Trump.
  2. No reporters should attend the White House media briefings led by Sarah Huckabee Sanders until Acosta’s credentials are reinstated. (We add: even if Fox doesn’t go along! Nobody really gets access at those things anyway).

Here’s the video again of the altercation between the President, Acosta and a White House intern, just in case you missed it yesterday:

All this culminated in one of the weirdest twists for us this week, when we got an email from a very Far Left organization (we receive all kinds of emails from all kinds of organizations), urging us to join them in protest of “the Sessions firing”.