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1/ ME, A VERY TIRED #IMMIGRATION LAWYER: this just in, our awful government is doing an illegal thing to #asylum seekers

YOU, A CONCERNED CITIZEN: Like, *how* illegal though


*pours a Laphroaig double*

okay, let's do this
2/ 1st, this is not exactly an executive order. That's coming later, via "Presidential proclamation"--obvs a totally cool & normal way to make things happen in a democracy

This "final interim rule" skips usual due process and goes into effect NOW, because #MigrantCaravan
3/ N.B.: This doesn't complete cut off all possibility of legal protection for #asylum seekers. "Withholding of removal" (a form of relief I like to call "asylum lite") and protection under the Convention Against Torture remain. That's not to say that this is necessarily OK.
4/ We have an obligation under both UN convention and our own acts of Congress to process asylum seekers and allow them to apply for #asylum, withholding of removal and/or CAT protection. W/holding is a much higher standard--a 51%+ chance of persecution vs. 10% for asylum.
5/ (If you can understand how a judge is supposed to assess the persecution to a statistical probability, please let me know.)
6/ UN member states may impose some restrictions on #asylum, as it is a path to permanent residency where w/holding & CAT are only protection from deportation. For example, US requires asylum seekers to apply w/in 1 yr of entry (legal or otherwise) & bars serious felons.
7/ Trump, Whittaker, & Nielsen are pushing things to an extreme here by essentially announcing that certain kinds of people may never receive asylum if they did not legally seek asylum at a port of entry. Which may *sound* perfectly ok... but that doesn't make it legal. Or right.
8/ The really nutty thing about this rule is that it is issued in anticipation of a Presidential announcement which doesn't exist yet. But there's plenty of room between the lines to see where we're going here. It's the #MigrantCaravan, folks. Care. A. Van.
9/ But I'm burying the lede here. The real news is that this whole thing is based on INA 212(f), the same incredibly broad provision which #SCOTUS upheld for the #travelban. This has NEVER been applied to #asylum seekers before--for good goddamn reason.
10/ Sales v. Haitian Ctrs, the #SCOTUS case cited above, dealt with the Navy turning Haitian asylum seekers away in international waters. It was clear that they had the right to do so once they got to land. That was a *central part of the Court's holding.* Read it for yourself
11/ But this intentional misread of Sales is not (by far) the worst thing. The worst thing is five words which just left my jaw literally agape:


Proclamation. Based. Ineligibility.

This is horrific precedent.
12/ The President is saying that INA 212(f) gives him license to just make up "classes" of people who can no longer receive asylum. WTAF, DJT.

Absolutely NOT what 212(f) is for.
13/ Worse, how do you define "THE CARAVAN" as a "class" of people? This rule acts like it'll be no biggie for asylum officers and judges to determine if someone was part of the "caravan,"--which includes citizens of several different countries with many different legal situations
14/ What if someone admits to CBP that they walked with the #MigrantCaravan for a few hours and then hopped a bus? Are they part of this "class"? What if they refuse to answer any questions about their itinerary? Can CBP just designate them as caravaners?
(to clarify: the right to *seek asylum* once they were in US territory. Sorry for any confusion on that)
15/ So. Anyway:

If the govt determines the person in front of them entered illegally & was part of "THE CARAVAN," they will be subjected to a much tougher "reasonable fear" interview. This is a higher standard than usual screening. Sessions was pushing to make it even harder.
16/ "Reasonable fear" interviews are usually for those w/prior deportation orders. You already had your chance, so we're not going to give you another one too easily. Ok.

This arbitrarily applies that to certain first-time asylum seekers. BUT THEY ENTERED ILLEGALLY, you say. Eh.
17/ Of course I'd prefer that everyone go through a port of entry. But this administration is very purposely making that less and less possible.…
18/ Forcing migrants to chokepoints along the border & then making things nearly impossible for them once they get there until chaos inevitably breaks out is an established far-right tactic used to turn public against asylum-seekers. All very intentional…
19/ And regardless of ANY of that noise, we have a fundamental legal (and moral) obligation to allow people within our borders the chance to a hearing on an asylum application. Even those filing after 1 yr may qualify for exceptions. There is no apparent exception here.
20/ Far more concerning than this (and it is concerning!) is where this kind of thing is *going.* Sessions was never subtle about his belief that most #CentralAmerican claims are bogus, and the administration has been at war with the concept of #asylum entirely for years now.
21/ Entirely overlooked in the righteous fervor around the #travelban: the 6-month suspension of ALL #REFUGEE ADMISSIONS. A trial balloon to see if we'd notice. We didn't.

(I mean, I was screaming into the void about it. That's just a Thursday, though.)…
22/ As I said then, Trump has been consistent on how bad & dangerous #refugees are. He has now succeeded in shifting the burden squarely to those who want to see existing law enforced to justify refugee admissions. It's just awful & heartbreaking & also time to refill my Scotch
24/ All of this continues the Trumpist theme of "due process for me, but not for thee." From #Kavanaugh to police violence to "safe spaces" to "identity politics" to severely limiting definitions of who qualifies for #asylum--it's all just plain bullying & administrative violence
25/ Anyway. A country which can decide to designate certain extremely ambiguous classes of people ineligible for #asylum through a "proclamation" is at most en route to fascism, and at least no longer a "nation of immigrants." Thanks for drinking with me.…
UPDATE: And away we go. Close the ports of entry and then harshly punish desperate people when they cross an invisible line on a map instead. It's just kind of right there.

UPDATE: The other half of this shit sandwich has just arrived--finish your drink and dig in with me here:

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