President Donald Trump issued a proclamation on Friday that effectively scrapped the asylum laws passed by a duly elected Congress. He claims that the approaching migrant caravan justifies a ban on granting asylum to anyone entering between ports of entry on an emergency basis. This means that both the Immigration and Nationality Act and the international treaties that America has signed requiring it to offer an asylum hearing to those fleeing oppression and persecution would now be null and void.
As I note in my new column for The Week, this is a sweeping power grab that should distress everyone—especially rule-of-law conservatives who earn their living berating immigrants for minor transgressions. But what is even more disturbing about Trump's order is that it is based on a fake crisis. There is no stampede at the southwestern border justifying an emergency proclamation, without going through proper rule-making procedures. As this chart provided by National Immigration Forum's Zuzana Cepla shows, the number of apprehensions are literally at a 22-year low. Yet no presdient ever felt the need to engage in such extraordinary usurpation of exisitng laws:
Furthermore, the only reason that Central American asylum seekers are even trying to enter between ports of entry is because border agents have taken to illicitly shooing them away from authorized ports, a practice—called "metering"—that is under legal challenge.
In short, Trump first manufactured a fake border crisis and then used it to justify overruling existing laws. This is pretty much unprecedented, and the ACLU is suing the administration over it.
Go here to read my column.