It’s been a busy week at the White House on the immigration front. President Donald Trump threatened to rescind his support for a deal that would spare hundreds of thousands from deportation, and his administration has tightened various processes intended to keep people out.
Here are ways Trump’s administration has undermined immigration to the U.S. ― just in the last few days.
Trump Suggests DACA Is Dead
“NO MORE DACA DEAL!” he tweeted on Sunday, referencing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that grants legal status to undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, sparing them the threat of deportation.
He announced the suspension of the program in September, but then backed off, saying he’d support it as long as he could get Democrats on board with his other policy proposals. That has yet to happen, creating a stalemate in Congress over DACA negotiations.
“A lot of people are coming in because they want to take advantage of DACA. The Democrats blew it,” he told a reporter Sunday.
Trump Threatens To Deploy Troops To Police The Border
The White House said Tuesday that National Guard troops may be headed to the U.S.-Mexico border to combat the influx of immigrants, drugs and gang violence.
“Until we can have a wall and proper security we’re going to be guarding our border with the military,” Trump told reporters earlier in the day, highlighting a “caravan” of asylum seekers that has made its way from Honduras through Mexico in recent days. He has threatened both Honduras and Mexico unless they take action to stop the caravan before it reaches the U.S.
In the past, the National Guard has assisted with surveillance and intelligence along the border, but never with direct law enforcement.
“That’s a big step. We really haven’t done that before, or certainly not very much before,” Trump said.
Trump on Wednesday dusted off his oft-repeated claim that immigrants bring crime with them, even though crime rates among noncitizens are consistently low. His predawn tweet threatened “strong action” later on Wednesday, without offering specifics.
Justice Department Imposes Quotas For Immigration Judges
The Justice Department will rate immigration judges based on the number of cases they close beginning Oct. 1, an email sent Friday revealed. Judges will be required to process a minimum of 700 cases annually in order to receive a top rating of satisfactory.
The policy change fits Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ push to trim a massive backlog and speed deportations, causing worry among some judges who fear an emphasis on quantity over quality will hurt the process.
“We’re incredibly concerned in that judges should not feel undue pressure to dispose of these cases rapidly in an effort to manage the enormous backlog,” Laura Lynch, senior policy counsel for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, told The Daily Beast. “We’re very concerned that cases will be rushed through the system and due process will be circumvented with these new quotas.”
White House Proposes Tougher Asylum Laws
The White House said Monday it was pushing for new legislation to make it harder for people to seek asylum in the U.S., without giving specifics. DOJ last month did away with a provision that awarded asylum seekers a full hearing before a judge, which officials characterized as necessary to reduce the immigration case backlog.