Media reports say that President Donald Trump may use his extraordinary power over immigration to temporarily freeze the asylum laws which are inviting the migrant exodus from Central America.
The dramatic exercise of Trump’s border power is being considered as the caravan of poor Honduran migrants slowly heads towards the California border. Officials are still trying to game out the likely consequences, including interventions by progressive judges, media outrage, and hostility from the Mexican government.
Also, the caravan is just a small part of the illegal migration problem, most of which is caused by the cartels’ labor-trafficking businesses. Overall migration has escalated in 2018 partly because judges have repeatedly blocked Trump’s agency reforms, while Congress has refused Trump’s reform bills and refused to fund his border programs, including the wall. The establishment media and business groups have also bitterly opposed any reforms which reduce migration.
But the White House debate is also taking place just two weeks from election day, as Democrats try to shift the public’s attention away from the costs of cheap-labor migration towards the Democrats’ pitch on healthcare and apparent bomb-threats.
The White House is likely to release more information on Friday.
The multiple media reports were vague and closely timed as if a few officials — either pro-Trump or anti-Trump — leaked the reports of the pending executive action to either grab headlines or block the planned action.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported:
The Trump administration is considering an executive action that could use travel ban-like authority to block certain asylum seekers at the Mexican border, sources familiar with the discussions said Thursday.
First, Homeland Security and the Justice Department would issue a rule limiting immigrants’ ability to seek asylum if they are part of a population barred by the president. The rule would take effect immediately, unlike most, and be justified as an extraordinary situation.
That would clear the way for Trump to issue a proclamation directed at a specific population, expected to target the 7,000-plus Central Americans heading toward the U.S.
The Washington Post reported:
Fixated on the migrant caravan moving north through Mexico, President Trump is weighing a plan to shut the U.S. border to Central Americans and deny them the opportunity to seek asylum, asserting similar emergency powers used during the early 2017 “travel ban,” according to administration officials and people familiar with the proposal.
Under U.S. law, foreign nationals fleeing persecution have the right to apply for asylum once they reach American soil, but the executive order under consideration would suspend that provision and bar Central Americans as a matter of national security, according to those familiar with the proposal.
The New York Times reported:
President Trump is considering taking executive action to bar migrants, including asylum seekers, from entering the country at the southern border, according to people familiar with the plan.
The plan appeared meant as much to generate headlines to appeal to his anti-immigrant base and fuel outrage among Democrats and immigrant advocates — including legal challenges that administration officials are fully anticipating — as it was to have a practical effect on immigration.
Federal law grants the President extraordinary power over who is allowed into the United States. The Supreme Court recently acknowledged this power to act independently of Congress and of judges, for example, to exclude security threats such as Islam’s believers from identified countries.
However, prior Presidents have been unwilling to take such drastic action, partly because business groups oppose curbs on immigration, including on migrant laborers.
Since 2009, the exodus from Central America has provided business with hundreds of thousands of cheap workers and additional consumers and renters. That inflow is used by business groups which donate to the Democratic Party and to the GOP, which has far less funding in the 2018 election that Democratic candidates.
Business groups also oppose Trump’s potential curbs on migrant laborers partly because they want to shift the public’s attention from the massive scale of middle-class, white-collar outsourcing via legal immigration and guest-workers. For example, the director of an investors’ lobbying group, FWD.us, Tweeted:
2) Long-term goal of hard-line anti-immigration restrictionists are not about legal vs illegal immigration. They have three big goals:
-Slash overall (legal) immigration levels
-Ramp up deportations of all 11 million
-Eliminate asylum & refugee system
They admit this readily!
— Todd Schulte (@TheToddSchulte) October 26, 2018