The United States agreed in 1980 to implement the United Nation’s rules on refugees. This means a group of recently deported migrants must be flown back to the U.S. and be given another chance to win asylum, a Democratic-appointed judge declared December 17.
“Congress made clear its intent in promulgating the Refugee Act was to bring the United States’ domestic laws in line with the [U.N.] Protocol,” Judge Emmet Sullivan declared in response to an ACLU lawsuit for several migrants against asylum policies established by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sullivan added: “The new credible fear policies are arbitrary, capricious, and in violation of the immigration laws,” and so must be discarded.
In turn, the migrants must get another chance to win asylum and citizenship in the United States under the rules established by President Barack Obama’s officials, said the decision in Grace v. Sessions, decided in the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C.
The decision was hailed by the ACLU: “This ruling is another defeat for the Trump administration’s all-out assault on the rights of asylum seekers.”
Immigration reform groups slammed the judge’s declaration. “When former Attorney General Jeff Sessions acted earlier this year to narrow the grounds for ‘credible fear’ claims, he was not acting on a whim,” said a statement from Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform. He continued:
He was not even making new policy. Sessions was restoring the ‘credible fear’ standard to what it was prior to 2014. It was a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (Matter of A-R-C-G- et al), under the Obama administration, that expanded the grounds for seeking political asylum in the United States to include non-political circumstances like fear of an abusive spouse or generalized violence in one’s homeland.
“The rash of judicial rulings by rogue jurists like Judge Sullivan amounts to a judicial coup d’état that is endangering not just the integrity of our immigration policies, but the bedrock foundations of our republic,” the group said.
If we agree to judicial supremacism, the border wall is largely moot. they can all come to point of entry and sue to be accepted, under current violation of precedent.
— Daniel Horowitz (@RMConservative) December 19, 2018
In a series of reviews and decisions, then-Attorney General Sessions revised several courtroom decisions made by former President Barack Obama’s immigration judges. The prior decisions offered the huge benefit of asylum to Guatemalan women who said they were abused by their husbands, and to Central Americans who said they were being persecuted by criminal gangs.
Sessions’ revised rulings directed border officials and immigration judges to not grant asylum to people who claim fear of persecution by spouses or criminals.
These and other pro-asylum decisions helped drive a flood of migrants up to the United States, most of whom are actually economic migrants seeking to get legal or illegal jobs in the United States. The migrants want U.S. jobs to live better lives in the United States, but also to aid poor families in Central America. They also need the jobs to pay off the mortgages and debts they owe to the cartel-affiliated coyotes who transport them to the U.S. border.
The New York Times reported December 18 from one Guatemalan village:
in less than two months, [César Castro, the mayor] said, 200 families have left [to seek asylum in the United States]. He cannot explain the sudden spike, but he offered one theory.
“Somebody came and tricked people and told them, ‘I will get you political asylum — and take a child with you,’” Mr. Castro speculated. “It’s a new tactic, and people believe it because of their poverty.”
One group included a father and his daughter who died after crossing into New Mexico. The child’s mother told the newspaper that she wants the U.S. government to let the father stay in the United States to work:
Ms. [Claudia] Maquin sees no other route out of her poverty — now increased by their debt to the smuggler who took her husband and [daughter] Jakelin to the border. The family will not say how much they paid, but Mr. Castro estimated it at between $5,000 to $10,000.
The U.S. government has already asked Sullivan to limit his decision to just the 12 plaintiffs in the case. That would minimize the impact of the judge’s order on the border agencies’ ability to adjudicate asylum claims by tens of thousands of economic migrants each month. The department may also choose to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.