Commentary

The Migrant Caravan v. Donald Trump

Tony Perkins
By Tony Perkins | November 5, 2018 | 3:14 PM EST

Migrant caravan walking through Mexico (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

There are 600 miles – and the entire Trump administration – standing between the migrant caravan and the border. The 3,600 people hoping to cross into the U.S. will have to get past border patrol, the American military, and the rule of law. Despite the odds, one extremist group thinks it can beat them – in the same place liberals always go to get their way: the courts.

As if this story couldn’t get any crazier, an American legal group called Nexus Services flew to the caravan that’s snaking its way through Mexico and recruited 12 people to sue the U.S. president. “Federal law enables migrants to apply for asylum in the United States. President Trump and his administration have used ‘increased enforcement,’ like separating families and lengthening detention to violate migrant rights,” argues Nexus’s Mike Donovan. A dozen Hondurans are claiming that their “constitutional rights” have been violated – under a constitution that isn’t even theirs! And even if it were their constitution – which it isn’t – how does enforcing the law possibly violate it?

According to one court filing, “the plaintiffs are seeking asylum, and Trump simply cannot stop them from legally doing so by using military, or anyone.” It isn't that clear cut. “Asylum” isn’t a magic word that gives people a free pass from U.S. laws. It’s the administration’s prerogative, through the application process, to pick and choose who comes into our country. Executive powers are broad, especially regarding national security. If it were 12 people trying to cross the border, there might be a stronger claim – but even the plaintiffs admit that it’s at least a 3,600-person caravan. The president shouldn’t have his hands tied when potential threats like this arise.

As Donald Trump pointed out yesterday, “The government of Mexico has generously offered asylum, jobs, education and medical care for people within the caravan, but many members of the caravan have refused these offers, which demonstrate that these migrants are not legitimate asylum seekers. They are not looking for protection because if they were, they would be able to get it from Mexico.”

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has already said, “If you do not have a legal right to come to this country, and you come as part of this caravan, you come in our country, you will be returned home.” The administration has expressed every intention to follow the law. Nexus’s attorneys know as well as anyone that even an activist court would have a difficult time finding fault with the president for that. As FRC legal expert Alexandra McPhee points out, a court would have to certify the class action first. For all we know, the judges would decide that this proposed class (essentially, all members of the caravan) is too broad. There would be too many unique issues that a class action couldn’t appropriately address.

Regardless of what the media would have you believe, no one is saying that immigrants aren’t welcome in America. What they are saying is that the way here is through the law – not around it.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Editor's Note: This piece was originally published by the Family Research Council.

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