Trump is sadly right about America’s immigration laws

THE WEEK – DAMON LINKER

The worst thing about opposing President Trump is sometimes he’s right.

And the troubling fact is that Trump’s instincts, if not his incompetently executed and deliberately cruel attempted solutions, are often right on immigration. That includes the instinct behind his angry remarks to reporters on Tuesday: “We have the worst laws of any country in the world. … You have to fix the asylum situation, it’s ridiculous.”

Indeed, it is ridiculous. As The New York Times explains in a deeply reported front-page story headlined “The U.S. immigration system may have reached a breaking point,” it is also tragic, with nearly 100,000 migrants arriving on the southern border every month, hoping to be admitted to the country.

The migrants know that if they bring a child with them, current U.S. law will forbid them from being held in custody for longer than 20 days. (It was an attempt to skirt this stricture that led the Trump administration to implement its rightly decried policy of separating adults and children at the border.) The migrants also know that if they say they’re seeking asylum and can pass a screening to determine if they have a “credible fear” of persecution in their home country, current law will grant them a hearing before an immigration court. What they may not know but will soon find out is that the backlog means that this appearance before a judge will not take place for years. (Those arriving today likely won’t have a formal hearing until 2021.)

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