Caravan will prove to the world that the US has an open border | Eurasia Diary -

25 May, Saturday

Caravan will prove to the world that the US has an open border

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Are there terrorists and other criminals in the migrant caravan that is coming to the United States from Central America, as President Donald Trump claims?
It doesn’t matter. The caravan would be a threat to our national security even if the migrants were all nuns from Catholic churches in Central America.
The threat comes from the fact that more than 7,500 undocumented migrants and the governments of Mexico and Central America are openly defying the President of the United States, and the entire world is watching.
It reminds me of a scene from the 1971 movie, Billy Jack, in which Billy, an ex-special forces martial arts expert says:
Billy Jack: You know what I think I'm gonna do then? Just for the hell of it? 
Mr. Posner: Tell me. 
Billy Jack: I'm gonna take this right foot, and I'm gonna whop you on that side of your face... 
Billy Jack: ...and you wanna know something? There's not a damn thing you're gonna be able to do about it.
And there wasn’t.
The 7,500 migrants are coming and the governments of Mexico and Central America are refusing to stop them, and there’s not a damn thing Trump can do about it.
He threatened to cut off federal aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador if they didn’t prevent the migrants in the caravan from leaving their countries, but apparently the threat was ignored.
He also has threatened to deploy the military to close the southern U.S. border if Mexico does not halt the caravan, but this would cause huge disruptions to trade that would have a serious economic impact on both countries. Moreover, it may be prohibited by the Posse Comitatus Act, which restricts the government’s ability to use the U.S. military as a police force.
In any case, the most the army could do would be to apprehend the migrants after they have made an illegal entry. It could not prevent them crossing, requesting asylum, and then being released to wait for an asylum hearing if they can establish a credible fear of persecution, which most will be able to do.
The 351-judge immigration court had a backlog of 764,561 cases as of the end of August, which was a  41 percent increase compared to the 542,411 cases pending at the end of January 2017, when Trump took office. The average wait for a hearing is two years.
The only solution is to find a way to process their asylum applications outside of the United States.
In July 2014, I suggested a way to do this to deter unaccompanied alien children from making the perilous journey from Central America to seek asylum in the United States. I proposed working with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)  to set up refugee centers in Central America for children to make it unnecessary for them to travel to the United States.
A few months later, President Barack Obama announced the establishment of a Central American Minors (CAM) refugee program to provide in-country refugee processing by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for qualified children in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
Trump could establish such a program that would be open to adults too.
He also should be able to persuade UNHCR to process asylum seekers who come to the United States at a location outside of the United States if processing is limited to aliens who enter without inspection.
Notwithstanding claims to the contrary, undocumented aliens do not have a right to apply for asylum in the United States. Asylum is a discretionary form of relief. The asylum provision in the Immigration and Nationality Act just states that eligible aliens “may” be granted asylum.
The United States, however, is a signatory to the UN’s Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. This means that it cannot return or expel “a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.” 
This obligation could be met by arranging for UNHCR to process their persecution claims in some other country with the understanding that an agreed upon number of them would be accepted by the United States as refugees.
It would have to be a very large number to make the program politically feasible.
Aliens who enter without inspection would be placed in expedited removal proceedings.  The ones who fear persecution would be transferred to UNHCR. Asylum seekers also could go directly to the processing centers without having to make the journey to the United States.
The alternative is to accept the fact the that our 2,000-mile border is open to anyone who is willing to cross it illegally and ask for asylum.

The Hill

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