Now this is a version of “catch and release” we can get behind, though we fear it is only a matter of time before some liberal judge puts the brakes on the policy for no legal reason whatsoever. The Department of Homeland Security announced Thursday that, thanks to a new agreement with the Mexican government, asylum seekers caught illegally crossing the border will be returned to Mexico while they wait for their cases to be decided.
“Today we are announcing historic measures to bring the illegal immigration crisis under control,” said DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. “Aliens trying to game the system to get into our country illegally will no longer be able to disappear into the United States, where many skip their court dates. ‘Catch and release’ will be replaced with ‘catch and return.’”
The administration announced the policy after being blocked by activist judges from denying these people asylum claims in the first place. This is not only a guardrail against “losing” these asylum-seekers into the shadows of the United States, it is also a measure that will help reduce some of the pressure building in detention facilities near the border. The CBP is overwhelmed with the number of new migrant arrivals this year. By sending illegal asylum seekers immediately back to Mexico, the administration also introduces a new incentive to our southern neighbors to get control over their own border.
While Congress stalls the White House over the money needed to begin construction on the border wall, this is Trump’s strongest executive measure yet to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into this country. Whether or not these would-be refugees will take the hint or not is another matter, but until Capitol Hill begins to take border security seriously, this is about the best the White House can do. Hopefully it will make a difference, because the current surge cannot go on indefinitely.
The New York Times reports that, naturally, immigration activists are already readying their lawsuits:
The administration’s move is a sharp departure from decades of American asylum practice, according to legal experts and advocates. The United States has long accepted individuals from across the world fleeing harm or persecution in their home countries.
The program is almost certain to be challenged in the United States courts by human rights groups and advocates. Many have already claimed that sending persecuted individuals to Mexico, one of the most violent countries in the world, places them in harm’s way.
“This deal is a stark violation of international law, flies in the face of U.S. laws passed by Congress, and is a callous response to the families and individuals running for their lives,” said Margaret Huang, the executive director of Amnesty International.
No, ma’am. This is a humanitarian deal, taken at a time when hundreds of thousands of Central Americans are making a dangerous journey north due to unclear asylum laws in the U.S. One need look no further than the seven-year-old girl that died last week to see what this journey is doing to people. And the only way to stop it is to make clear to asylum-seekers that getting into the U.S. will not be as easy as jumping a fence.
Alas, as we said, this will probably be struck down by some radical California judge by the end of next week.