Trump Shutdown Closes Immigration Courts, Stopping Deportations

Advertisements

Donald Trump’s partial shutdown of the U.S. government is almost two weeks old. One of the effects of the shutdown that Trump probably didn’t anticipate is that he has closed most of the country’s immigration courts. His fight for the wall is now making it impossible to deport people, or even hear immigration cases.

In a scathing editorial yesterday the Washington Post editorial board mocked the president for this ironic result. They pointed out that he is causing more border problems as he continues his impulsive and childish demands for his ill-conceived border wall.

The Post editors wrote:

Advertisements

“In the name of securing the border and keeping out illegal immigrants, President Trump has opted for a partial government shutdown. Irony of ironies, that shutdown has paralyzed the nation’s immigration courts, shuttering many of them and allowing several hundred undocumented immigrants to dodge deportation orders each day the shutdown continues.”

“They are among many hundreds of others whose cases will be postponed for years — or, in effect, indefinitely — for every day the closure lasts.”

“Those are among the more perverse effects of the Trump shutdown, which has resulted in many of the nation’s roughly 400 immigration judges receiving furlough orders, barring them from coming to work or hearing cases.”

Trump’s shutdown has already disrupted the daily lives — and the personal finances — of hundreds of thousands of federal workers, contractors and government-funded researchers and scientists. Most of the news coverage, however, has not mentioned the 400 immigration judges who have been told not to come to work.

And, as the Post editors point out, the effects of the shutdown are making a bad situation much worse, and the effects will be felt for many years to come.

They pointed out that there is a massive backlog in the immigration courts:

“The immigration courts are already massively jammed: The backlog is now 1.1 million cases. It means every day that the shutdown persists, thousands of cases aren’t being heard. They’ll ultimately be rescheduled three or four years from this shutdown, when Trump might not even be president anymore.”

“In fact, the backlog has reached such gargantuan proportions that judges are already double- and triple-booking future court dates, like an airline overbooking flights, meaning that many cases on the docket will inevitably be postponed repeatedly.”

In some of his juvenile Twitter rants Trump has raged against the immigration courts and judges. He has even gone so far as to say that he wants to eliminate the Constitution’s “due process” guarantee for immigrants.

Back in June, during the controversy surrounding his “zero tolerance” immigration policy, he wrote:

We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country. When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came. Our system is a mockery to good immigration policy and Law and Order. Most children come without parents…….Our Immigration policy, laughed at all over the world, is very unfair to all of those people who have gone through the system legally and are waiting on line for years! Immigration must be based on merit – we need people who will help to Make America Great Again!

In one of his many lies about U.S. immigration, Trump incorrectly claimed that when courts release immigrants into the United States with a court date, they rarely show up. But the truth is that the vast majority do appear for their court date.

“What distinguishes the Trump shutdown is that it contravenes the president’s own long-standing insistence on a more rational and efficient immigration system, as he himself defines it,” the Post closed. “A president who attacks “catch and release ” now embraces a policy that ensures indefinite release. A president hungry for ever more deportations now ensures that thousands of would-be deportees get reprieves. And a president who conjures migrant no-shows in courts manages to close the courts entirely.”