Trump To Border Patrol: I AM THE LAW
Photo: Trump and Customs and Border Protection El Centro Section Chief Gloria Chavez, US CBP

When Donald Trump visited the US-Mexico border in Calexico, California, on Friday, he had some inspirational words for the brave men and women of US Customs and Border Protection: Ignore the stupid laws and the stupid judges and just don't let anyone claim asylum, because the US is full. Easy peasy! We all saw the big idiot making his "we're full, sorry" speech in public, but it sounded like the usual Trumpian bullshit. But no, he actually believes that's literally what Border Patrol officers need to do, the law be damned. Laws are dumb, Trump is smart.

Here's Trump during the public part of his visit with CBP, explaining America literally can't take a single additional asylum seeker (unless they're applying for seasonal work at Mar-a-Lago):

So when Trump "was telling some of the people before, when it's full, there's nothing you can do," and "there were some horrible court decisions," apparently he was talking about this private heart-to-heart chat he had with Border Patrol agents, as CNN reports:

Behind the scenes, two sources told CNN, the President told border agents to not let migrants in. Tell them we don't have the capacity, he said. If judges give you trouble, say, "Sorry, judge, I can't do it. We don't have the room."

That is actually how the law works. If you have a really good excuse, you can do what you want, and the judges will let you because you're famous. Still, just to make sure they heard that right, the officers double checked:

After the President left the room, agents sought further advice from their leaders, who told them they were not giving them that direction and if they did what the President said they would take on personal liability. You have to follow the law, they were told.

So no, you can't "just follow orders." At least not from the guy who can also order underlings to launch nuclear weapons.

CNN also reported that in a meeting a couple weeks back -- which include both "ranting" and raving" according to sources -- Trump actually ordered Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to completely close the port of entry in El Paso, Texas, the very next day, Friday, March 22. Because of course you can do that without any disruption. (Why El Paso? Maybe Trump saw Beto O'Rourke on TV, who knows?) Nielsen instead suggested further slowing down the process for anyone seeking asylum, and pointed out that if Trump closed ports of entry, that would be bad for trade and legal travel, while asylum seekers would just cross the border elsewhere, and weren't we trying to avoid that? Oh, that made Trump mad:

According to two people in the room, the President said: "I don't care."

And then the lion ate Pierre :(

Scholastic - Pierre - Carole

Mick Mulvaney eventually talked Trump down from closing the port of entry, but Trump was still obsessed, insisting that Nielsen at least order CBP to turn away all asylum seekers. And like a big unhelpful jerk, Nielsen pointed out that would violate US and international law. She asked White House Counsel Pat Cipollone if there were a legal way to block asylum seekers, and he agreed the law was pretty clear on it. Then Trump, we suppose, told Stephen Miller to shoot them both.

The CNN story closes with a bit more detail on Trump's insistence that the government start taking children away from their parents at the border again, which was one reason Trump shitcanned Nielsen. According to CNN, Trump wasn't so much pushing for the cruel but slightly orderly "binary choice" policy that some in DHS think might be legal, but for wholesale taking kids from their parents the moment they arrive at the border, because "legal" is anything Donald Trump wants:

According to multiple sources, the President wanted families separated even if they came in at a legal port of entry and were legal asylum seekers. The President wanted families separated even if they were apprehended within the US. He thinks the separations work to deter migrants from coming.

Sources told CNN that Nielsen tried to explain they could not bring the policy back because of court challenges, and White House staffers tried to explain it would be an unmitigated PR disaster.

"He just wants to separate families," said a senior administration official.

In related news, a federal judge put the kibosh on Trump's new policy of making asylum seekers wait in Mexico while their cases are processed in US courts, finding that the policy

violates the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Administrative Procedures Act and other legal protections to ensure that immigrants "are not returned to unduly dangerous circumstances."

The judge ordered the government to once more allow asylum seekers found to have a "credible fear" of persecution to be admitted to the US while they wait for their claim to come before an immigration judge, and ordered that the 11 plaintiffs in the suit be allowed to come from Mexico to the US within two days after the order takes effect this Friday.

Trump, of course, wasn't happy, and took to the Twitters:

Why yes, sir, it's the courts and the law and everyone else that are out of control. You are the smart one, and what you're doing is all very normal.

We suppose by now Trump has already emailed all CBP personnel and told them personally the court can be ignored -- he'll vouch for 'em. By noon, he'll have ordered a missile strike on the judge's house.

[CNN / WaPo]

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Doktor Zoom

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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