Photo: US Customs and Border Protection

Not content with its plan to effectively end asylum for new applicants, the Trump administration has dreamed up some brand new fuckery to hit asylum-seekers with. Immigration attorneys tell Buzzfeed News and the San Diego Union-Tribune the Border Patrol has taken to issuing fake court notices to asylum seekers, as a way of keeping out immigrants who could otherwise legally be allowed into the US. Yes, you read that right. We have to repeat it to believe it ourselves: The Border Patrol is telling migrants they have nonexistent court dates so they won't exercise their rights to legally enter the land of freedom and equal justice under law.

Because without respect for the law, you don't have a country, right? Doesn't mean the law has to respect you.


Buzzfeed looks at the case of Francisco, a Cuban refugee who argued before immigration judge Eric Tijerina that he'd been persecuted in Cuba. It was a convincing case, so Tijerina ordered that his application for asylum be granted. Then came the fuckery:

With his court order in hand, Francisco traveled four days later to the port of entry — the same place where he had first applied for asylum in July — with his attorney. He gave the 14-page document to a US Customs and Border Protection official and requested he be let in.

Instead, a border official took Francisco aside and gave him a notice for a nonexistent court hearing in January, according to one of his attorneys, Lisa Koop, associate director of legal services at the National Immigrant Justice Center. What's more, Francisco would also have to wait in Mexico as Homeland Security officials used their allotted 30-day window to decide whether to appeal his case.

It's just the latest development in the Newspeak-inspired "Migrant Protection Protocol," the administration's effort to discourage asylum seekers by forcing applicants to wait in Mexico until their asylum case is heard. (The program originally had the more Trumpian name "Remain In Mexico.")

But this is new: denying entry to people even after they've been granted asylum.

The fake court hearings are aimed at forcing Mexico to take the asylum-seekers back, since Mexico won't admit anyone sent back from the US if they don't have a court date.

On Monday, acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan was asked during a press conference about immigrants being returned to Mexico after winning their asylum cases. He appeared confused, saying, "That shouldn't be happening."

However, a CBP spokesperson said that when an immigration judge's decision is appealed, "Immigration proceedings remain underway and individuals enrolled in MPP can be returned to Mexico to await the appeal."

Buzzfeed also points out that even when people win their initial asylum hearings and are allowed into the US, they're regularly held in ICE detention while the government appeals their cases. (Because what if the immigration judges are secretly never-Trumpers?)

MPP has largely replaced "kids in cages" as the greatest concern for immigration activists, because since it was implemented, kids aren't even staying in the US long enough to catch the flu and die. Instead, they and any family members they came with are sent back across the border and told to wait in crowded shelters in border cities, where they're preyed upon by cartels.

Last week, the advocacy group Human Rights First detailed how it has found more than 600 publicly reported cases of kidnapping, rape, torture, assault, and other violent attacks against asylum-seekers and immigrants returned to Mexico under MPP. The group also found asylum-seekers who had missed court dates in the US due to being kidnapped in Mexico.

The situation in shelters, like the one Francisco has been forced to remain in, has also been dire, the group found. Cartel members in Nuevo Laredo had robbed, extorted, and repeatedly threatened immigrants outside shelters in the town.

And somewhere, Stephen Miller smiles his death's-head grin and chuckles. A sepulchral voice that doesn't seem to come from his mouth says, You said you didn't like kids in cages, didn't you? You got your wish, why are you complaining? This is all legal, because we write the laws.

Francisco's case, says Koop, gives away the game.

The government's behavior in this case and in other cases lays bare the true intent of MPP, which is quite simply to end asylum for all peoples in all circumstances [...] This is a Cuban dissident who was granted asylum and is being kept out — it removes the ambiguity of what motives are behind this program.

Well, yes, sure, but he's not a Norwegian dissident, now is he? His life is disposable, no matter what some stupid immigration judge in the US government thinks.

In other developments, the Los Angeles Times reports that the administration is also deporting asylum-seeking families to Guatemala under another prong of its Fuck All Immigrants strategy. Even families that aren't from Guatemala, and even if they've requested asylum in the USA, and even though that new policy is currently being challenged in the courts. And even though Guatemala's highest court ruled that the outgoing president who signed an agreement with the US to accept the deportees didn't have the authority to do it without legislative approval. Who cares? NOT US AMERICA.

It's really fucking ugly:

At first, U.S. officials said they would return only single adults. But starting Tuesday, they began applying the policy to non-Guatemalan parents and children, according to communications obtained by The Times and several U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials.

One family of three from Honduras, as well as a separate Honduran parent and child, were served with notices on Tuesday that they'd soon be deported to Guatemala.

ProPublica immigration reporter Dara Lind notes this is a very big deal, and a radical shift in US asylum policy:

Again, "kids in cages" is no longer the most pressing concern; it's so six months ago, because the Miller-Trump fuckery is evolving faster than a flesh-eating bacterium that's become antibiotic resistant. Ain't nobody to cage says Lind, because "The goal is to get people out of custody as quickly as possible by getting them out of the United States as quickly as possible."

This should worry you every bit as much as the cages, though, because conditions in Mexico and Central America are far more dangerous. It's kind of why people are fleeing from the areas in the first place. On the up side for the administration, fewer nosy reporters to let people in the US know that migrants are being abused, kidnapped, raped, or killed. Didn't happen here, not our problem. And no unsightly cages, at least not any being operated by us.

Finally, just to cap it all off, we regret to announce the untimely passing of Irony, which died Tuesday in the custody of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement after a severe beating:

This fucking country, man, we don't even know anymore.

[Buzzfeed News / San Diego Union-Tribune / LAT]

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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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