At the Mexican border, US law is flagrantly disregarded by people who know they will never be punished.
It’s true, there’s a crisis at the border. People openly disregard the laws of this country, knowing there is little chance they will ever be held accountable. One organization has become particularly brazen in this regard: the Department of Homeland Security.
The majority of people in this country have been horrified by actions like the family separation policy, which can only be described as cruel. And yet the message from the Trump administration, and the reason for the departure of former DHS secretary Kirstjen Nielsen this April, is that the government’s actions weren’t cruel enough. President Trump and his hardline immigration adviser Stephen Miller, by all accounts, wanted even harsher restrictions against people exercising their legal rights to claim asylum than Nielsen was willing to accommodate, so she had to go.
You’ll often hear these cruel measures justified because “it’s the law.” Yet the actions of DHS under this administration haven’t only been sickening. They’ve also been illegal.
This goes beyond the fact that agents working for DHS have allegedly committed violent crimes — such as Juan David Ortiz, the Customs and Border Protection officer accused of the murder of four women in Texas, or the long list of incidents of sexual violence allegedly committed by CBP agents, which predate Nielsen’s tenure.
In fact, DHS policies and institutional practices themselves are in violation of the law.
In particular, the myriad obstructions the Trump administration has laid before asylum-seekers clearly violate the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which states clearly that anyone “who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States, whether or not at a designated port of arrival” may apply for asylum.
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