Thomas McDonnell on the Criminalization of Asylum Seekers | Bob Herbert’s Op-Ed.TV


♪ [OPENING MUSIC] ♪ ♪ [OPENING MUSIC] ♪>>>HI, I’M BOB HERBERT.
WELCOME TO OP-ED.TV. THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION
IS CONDUCTING A WAR AGAINST IMMIGRANTS, AND
THE CASUALTY LISTS ARE VAST. FROM THE DESPERATE ASYLUM
SEEKERS WHO ARE BEING DENIED A SAFE HAVEN, TO
THE FAMILIES BEING TORN APART ON OUR SOUTHWESTERN
BORDER, TO THE YOUNG CHILDREN, BOYS AND GIRLS
WHO ARE BEING BULLIED AND HARASSED AND WORSE IN
COMMUNITIES ACROSS THE U.S. MY GUEST HAS COAUTHORED AN
IMPORTANT STUDY PUBLISHED IN THE COLUMBIA HUMAN
RIGHTS LAW REVIEW, ENTITLED, ENTER AT YOUR
OWN RISK, CRIMINALIZING ASYLUM SEEKERS. HE’S THOMAS MCDONNELL, AN
EXPERT ON INTERNATIONAL LAW, AND A PROFESSOR AT
THE ELIZABETH HAUB SCHOOL OF LAW AT PACE UNIVERSITY. TOM, WELCOME. THANKS FOR COMING IN.>>>YEAH.>>>I APPRECIATE IT. SO BEFORE WE GET TO ASYLUM
SEEKERS LET’S TALK ABOUT THE TREATMENT OF
IMMIGRANTS AND POTENTIAL IMMIGRANTS IN GENERAL BY
THIS ADMINISTRATION. WHAT ARE SOME, JUST
RECAP SOME OF THE MAJOR CHANGES THE TRUMP
ADMINISTRATION HAS ENACTED WHEN IT COMES TO THE TREATMENT
AND HANDLING OF IMMIGRATION.>>>WELL, I THINK IT’S
FAIR TO SAY, AS YOU INDICATED IN YOUR OPENING
STATEMENT, THAT THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION HAS ENGAGED
IN AN ABSOLUTE ASSAULT ON IMMIGRANTS GENERALLY, AND
I THINK YOU HAVE TO SAY A SHOOTING WAR AGAINST
ASYLUM SEEKERS AND REFUGEES->>>WOW.>>>IN PARTICULAR. SO, IN TERMS OF IMMIGRANTS
GENERALLY THERE’S BEEN JUST ACTUALLY A SLEW OF
INITIATIVES TO STOP IMMIGRATION INTO THIS
COUNTRY, THE MOST RECENT BEING THE PUBLIC CHARGE RULE, WHICH
CAME IN EFFECT ON MONDAY.>>>RIGHT.>>>WHICH ESSENTIALLY MANY
REGARD AS A WEALTH TEST, WHICH ESSENTIALLY HAS THE
AIM OF ELIMINATING A VAST NUMBER OF QUALIFIED
IMMIGRANTS INTO THIS COUNTRY. MANY SUGGEST THAT AS MANY
AS 60 PERCENT OF THOSE WHO WOULD OTHERWISE BE
QUALIFIED, MIGHT NOT BE BECAUSE OF THE SO-CALLED
WEALTH TEST. IF YOU TOP, IF YOU PUT ON
TOP OF IT THEIR RECENT PROPOSAL, WHICH IS IN THE
COURTS, TO REQUIRE HEALTH INSURANCE AS A CONDITION
FOR BEING ADMITTED AS AN IMMIGRANT IN THIS COUNTRY,
YOU CAN SEE THAT THIS TYPE OF POLICY WILL EXCLUDE A
VAST NUMBER OF PEOPLE, PARTICULARLY PEOPLE OF
COLOR- >>>RIGHT.>>>PEOPLE WHO, WHO HAVE
LESSER MEANS. ASIDE FROM THAT, IF WE
WANNA TALK ABOUT IMMIGRANTS GENERALLY
WHAT’S, WHAT THE ADMINISTRATION HAS DONE IS
SLOW DOWN THE APPLICATION PROCESS, THERE ARE A GREAT
DEAL OF DELAYS IN THE PROCESS. IT ALSO HAS REQUIRED ALL
APPLICANTS FOR EMPLOYMENT-BASED
IMMIGRATION TO HAVE INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEWS. THAT LIKEWISE HAS SLOWED
DOWN THE ENTIRE PROCESS. IT HAS PROPOSED INCREASES,
AND IS INCREASING, FEES FOR VARIOUS APPLICATIONS,
INCLUDING ASYLUM FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OUR HISTORY. ONLY FOUR COUNTRIES IN THE
WORLD INCLUDE AN ASYLUM APPLICATION FEE. WE ARE NOW, THE WEALTHIEST
COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, NOW DOING SO.>>>WOW.>>>SO, I MEAN, AGAIN,
THERE’S REALLY JUST A HOST OF ATTEMPTS BY THIS
ADMINISTRATION TO THWART IMMIGRATION BY ANY MEANS
POSSIBLE.>>>SO, WE’RE NOW SEEING A
REDUCTION IN LEGAL IMMIGRATION TO THIS
COUNTRY. THE BOILER PLATE HAD
BEEN THAT THE ADMINISTRATION IS NOT
OPPOSED TO LEGAL IMMIGRANTS. THEY ONLY WANT IT TO GO TO
THE, UNDOCUMENTED BUT IN FACT, ISN’T THIS WHAT THEY
REALLY WANTED ALL ALONG, JUST TO DEPRESS IMMIGRATION
ACROSS THE BOARD?>>>WELL, CERTAINLY I
THINK WITHOUT LOOKING INTO MOTIVES EXACTLY THE FACTS
SUGGEST THAT THAT’S TRUE. I MEAN, WE’RE, WE JUST
REPORTED THAT, THAT IT’S AN 11 PERCENT DROP IN
LEGAL IMMIGRATION THIS YEAR, AND IT’S DUE TO SOME
OF THE THINGS I’VE JUST POINTING OUT. I MEAN, THE IDEA OF, CAN
SLOWING DOWN THE PROCESS, YOU INCREASE THE, THE
PROPOSAL IS TO INCREASE FEES FOR NATURALIZATION, BY 80
PERCENT, FROM $640 TO $1,170. NOW IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT,
NATURALIZATION IS KIND OF THE PLATFORM FOR FAMILY
IMMIGRATION.>>>RIGHT.>>>SO PEOPLE GENERALLY,
WELL, THERE’S A BASIS FOR LEGAL PERMANENT RESIDENTS
TO IMMIGRATE FAMILY MEMBERS AS WELL, BUT
NATURALIZATION IS, IS THE MAIN FORM OF IMMIGRATION,
AND SO, BY DOING SO, WHAT THEY’RE DOING IS PUTTING
ROADBLOCKS IN ANY WAY IN WHICH TO IMMIGRATE INTO
THE COUNTRY.>>>SO THIS HOSTILITY
TOWARD IMMIGRANTS IS HARDLY LIMITED TO THE
UNITED STATES. THAT WE’VE SEEN IN MANY
COUNTRIES NOW, SORT OF THIS BURGEONING
HOSTILITY OR EVEN HATRED TOWARDS IMMIGRANTS. TALK A LITTLE BIT
ABOUT WHAT’S ACTUALLY OCCURRING AND WHY THIS IS
OCCURRING. WHY SO MUCH OF THIS OVER
THESE PAST FEW YEARS?>>>OKAY. WELL, WELL, BOB, I THINK
THERE’S BEEN A PERFECT STORM OF EVENTS WHICH HAS
LED TO THE ATTITUDES OF COUNTRIES, NOT ONLY THE
UNITED STATES, BUT OTHERS, IN OPPOSING, QUITE
FIERCELY, IMMIGRATION. AND, I WOULD JUST TALK
ABOUT THE MORE, THE MOST RECENT ONES. THE 9/11 ATTACKS, THE
SUBSEQUENT WARS IN IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN, SOMALIA,
YEMEN AND LIBYA, OKAY? THE, I THINK WE ALSO HAVE
TO MENTION THE 2008 ECONOMIC CRISIS, A
WORLDWIDE CRISIS- >>>THE GREAT RECESSION.>>>WHICH, WHICH WAS
CONCOMITANT WITH THE EXPONENTIAL GROWTH OF
AUTOMATION. SO, PRODUCING, YOU KNOW,
QUITE A BIT OF INSECURITY BY, PARTICULARLY MEMBERS
OF, PARTICULARLY IN OUR COUNTRY, BUT NOT ONLY IN
OUR COUNTRY, OF PEOPLE WHO DON’T HAVE COLLEGE
DEGREES.>>>RIGHT.>>>LASTLY, PARTICULARLY
IN OUR COUNTRY, BUT I DON’T THINK IT’S REALLY
LIMITED TO OUR COUNTRY, I THINK IT’S THE REALIZATION
ON THE PART OF WHITE AMERICANS THAT THEY WILL
BE IN THE MINORITY, OKAY? IN THE UNITED STATES IN
THE NEXT DECADE OR SO. THESE EVENTS, YOU KNOW,
AND WHICH YOU ALSO ADD CLIMATE CHANGE, OKAY?>>>RIGHT.>>>BECAUSE, BECAUSE- >>>YEAH.>>>YOU KNOW, PARTICULARLY
AFFECTING YOU KNOW, THE GLOBAL SOUTH. SO, THESE EVENTS ALL
TOGETHER, OKAY? HAVE PRODUCED A WHOLE RAFT
OF DEMAGOGIC LEADERS, OKAY? IF YOU LOOK AT ORBAN IN,
IN HUNGARY, OKAY? WHAT THE RIGHT-WING
LEADERS IN POLAND, OKAY? THE, THE GROWTH OF
RIGHT-WING LEADERS IN ITALY AND OTHER PARTS OF
EUROPE, THE VERY RECENT ELECTION IN THE U.K.,
WHERE CONSERVATIVES WON- >>>RIGHT.>>>A MASSIVE VICTORY, BASICALLY
ON THE BREXIT ISSUES.>>>BREXIT, YEP.>>>SO WHAT WE SEE, SO WE
SEE, NOT TO MENTION BOLSONARO, YOU KNOW, IN
VENEZUELA, SO WHAT WE SEE IS THESE, THIS
TREMENDOUS GROWTH OF RIGHT-WING DEMAGOGIC
LEADERS, NOT TO MENTION OUR CURRENT PRESIDENT,
THAT HAVE KIND OF RALLIED AROUND THESE ISSUES. AND THE ONE THING I
WANTED TO, I THINK WE HAVE TO SAY, BECAUSE SOMETIMES
THIS GETS LOST IN THE DEBATE, AND THAT IS THIS:
I MEAN, PEOPLE IN THE UNITED STATES WHO HAVE NOT
AT ALL, WHO HAVE NOT ATTAINED A COLLEGE DEGREE,
THEY HAVE BEEN KIND OF LEFT OUT OF THE NEW
ECONOMY.>>>RIGHT.>>>AND WHEN YOU SEE THE
NUMBER OF JOBS IN COAL MINES THAT HAVE BEEN
ELIMINATED IN PLACES LIKE WEST VIRGINIA AND TAKE A
LOOK AT HOW MANY TOLL COLLECTORS ARE GOING TO BE
EMPLOYED IN THE UNITED STATES IF RIDERLESS CARS, REPLACES, YOU KNOW, TRUCK
DRIVERS- >>>YEAH.>>>AND, YOU KNOW, CAB
DRIVERS AND THE LIKE, ONE CAN SEE THAT THIS
POPULATION HAS A LEGITIMATE GRIEVANCE. AND I THINK IT’S BEEN A
FAILURE OF SOME OF THE PARTIES, ACTUALLY BOTH PARTIES,
TO REALLY ADDRESS THAT. SO I THINK WHAT WE REALLY
NEED IN THIS COUNTRY IS TRANSFORMATIVE LEADERSHIP->>>RIGHT.>>>ON THE LEVEL OF
ABRAHAM LINCOLN IN HIS SECOND ORAL ADDRESS, THE
BIND THE WOUNDS ADDRESS, AND ALSO NELSON MANDELA,
WHO, BOTH OF, BOTH LEADERS WHO CAN TAKE THE MOST
POLARIZED SOCIETIES IMAGINABLE AND TRY TO
BUILD A BRIDGE AND NOT A WALL BETWEEN THEM. SO I THINK WE HAVE TO,
WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THIS ISSUE AND I WANT TO
ADDRESS THE, YOU KNOW, THE AMOUNT OF DISCRIMINATION,
BOTH ON RACIAL->>>RIGHT.>>>AND NATIONAL GROUNDS,
WE ALSO HAVE TO THINK ABOUT WHAT ARE THE, WHAT ARE THE
OTHER SIDE’S ARGUMENTS? ARE THERE SOME LEGITIMATE
POINTS THAT REALLY NEED TO BE ADDRESSED? AND WE HAVE TO ADDRESS
THEM IN ORDER, TO REALLY COME UP WITH A SOLUTION
THAT WILL BE FAIR TO ALL.>>>SO, LET’S TALK ABOUT
ASYLUM SEEKERS. THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION,
AS PART OF ITS WAR ON ON IMMIGRANTS
HAS JUST BEEN RELENTLESS IN ITS, IN ITS ASSAULT ON
ASYLUM SEEKERS. SO, COULD WE START BY
EXPLAINING WHAT ASYLUM IS, AND HOW ASYLUM SEEKERS
DIFFER FROM SOME OTHER FOLKS WHO ARE TRYING TO
COME INTO THE COUNTRY?>>>IN 1980, CONGRESS
PASSED THE REFUGE ACT OF THAT YEAR, WHICH
ESSENTIALLY BROUGHT THE UNITED STATES IN HARMONY
WITH THE INTERNATIONAL REFUGEE CONVENTION, THE
1951 REFUGE CONVENTION, WHICH THE UNITED STATES
ESSENTIALLY INCORPORATED BY RATIFYING THE 1967
REFUGEE PROTOCOL.>>>RIGHT.>>>SO THE IDEA WAS, AND
THIS WAS PRIMARILY SENATOR KENNEDY’S BILL, AS YOU MAY
RECALL, WAS TO MAKE SURE THAT THE UNITED STATES WAS
COMPLYING WITH INTERNATIONAL LAW. AND WHAT HE ESSENTIALLY
DID WAS TO SAY THAT, WELL, INDIVIDUALS WHO WERE
FLEEING PERSECUTION ON THE BASIS OF FIVE GROUNDS,
RACE, RELIGION, NATIONALITY, PARTICULAR
SOCIAL GROUP, AND POLITICAL OPINION, WOULD
HAVE A BASIS FOR OBTAINING ASYLUM IN THE UNITED
STATES. IT IS A MATTER OF RIGHT
THAT ANY INDIVIDUAL CAN APPLY FOR ASYLUM IN THE
UNITED STATES. IT DOESN’T MEAN THEY’RE
GONNA BE GRANTED ASYLUM- >>>RIGHT.>>>BUT SUCH AN INDIVIDUAL
CAN APPLY. THE STATUTE ALSO SAYS THAT
INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE ARRESTED FOR IMMIGRATION
VIOLATIONS MAY ALSO, ESSENTIALLY, AS A DEFENSE
TO DEPORTATION, MAY LIKEWISE APPLY. SO THAT ESSENTIALLY IS,
HAS, SINCE 1980, THAT HAS, THAT HAS BEEN, YOU KNOW,
OUR LAW.>>>SO, HOW HAS THE TRUMP
ADMINISTRATION CHANGED THE TREATMENT OF ASYLUM
SEEKERS AS OPPOSED TO THE WAY WE’VE BEEN TREATING
THEM, AT LEAST SINCE, SAY, 1980?>>>WELL, YOU’RE
ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. THEY’VE COME UP WITH A
RAFT OF POLICIES, WHICH, AS I SAID BEFORE, IT’S A
SHOOTING WAR AGAINST ASYLUM SEEKERS. FIRST, WHAT THEY DID WAS
TO CRIMINALIZE FIRST-TIME ENTRANTS FOR ILLEGAL
ENTRY. NOW, IT’S PRETTY CLEAR
THAT THE INTENT OF THE 1980 ACT AND OTHER ACTS,
WAS NOT TO CRIMINALIZE ASYLUM SEEKERS PER SE. BUT, SO THAT EVERY PERSON
WHO CAME INTO THE COUNTRY, YOU KNOW WHEN, AFTER JEFF
SESSIONS ANNOUNCED HIS ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY- >>>RIGHT.>>>WAS ESSENTIALLY WITH,
WITH SOME EXCEPTIONS ADULTS WERE ESSENTIALLY
CHARGED WITH THIS MISDEMEANOR OFFENSE OF
ILLEGAL ENTRY.>>>AND, AND, AND WHAT’S
THE OFFENSE?>>>IT’S ILLEGAL ENTRY
INTO THE UNITED STATES WITHOUT DOCUMENTATION.>>>RIGHT.>>>OKAY? SO THAT’S, SO WHAT
THE, WHAT HAPPENED AS A RESULT OF THAT WAS THAT
THAT WAS ONE WAY, FIRST OF ALL, IT WAS, PART OF IT
WAS TO DETER ASYLUM SEEKERS, OKAY? BUT IT ALSO HAD AN EFFECT,
BECAUSE ASYLUM SEEKERS, INSTEAD OF BEING GREETED
WITH BEING ABLE TO APPLY FOR ASYLUM, THEY WERE, YOU
KNOW, THEY WERE, YOU KNOW, IF THEY ENTERED WITHOUT
INSPECTION, YOU KNOW, THEY WERE INCARCERATED AND CHARGED
WITH A CRIMINAL OFFENSE. IN ADDITION TO THAT, WHAT
HE DID WAS TO SAY, WELL, EVEN IF YOU COME TO THE
UNITED STATES, YOU KNOCK ON OUR DOOR AND YOU ASK
FOR ASYLUM, WE’RE NOT GONNA GIVE YOU BOND, WHICH
MEANS, ESSENTIALLY, BAIL. SO, IF YOU APPLY FOR
ASYLUM IN THE UNITED STATES, FINE. COME ON IN. YOU CAN SIT IN AN
IMMIGRATION DETENTION FACILITY UNTIL YOUR CASE
IS RESOLVED. NOW, THAT COULD BE MONTHS,
IF NOT YEARS. I MEAN, CAN THAT, THAT’S,
YOU KNOW, SO BAD- >>>WHAT ARE THOSE
FACILITIES LIKE? IS THAT ESSENTIALLY- >>>WELL, THAT’S AN
INTERESTING- >>>JAIL?>>>QUESTION. YEAH
IT’S ESSENTIALLY JAIL. AND A COUPLE O’ YEARS AGO,
I REPRESENTED CLIENTS IN DILLEY, TEXAS, WHICH WAS
A, THEY CALLED IT A RESIDENTIAL FACILITY FOR
WOMEN AND CHILDREN. I MEAN, IT’S, IT’S NOT,
THERE AREN’T BARS ON THE WALLS, OKAY? THERE AREN’T, YOU KNOW,
YOU DON’T, YOU DON’T HAVE BARS, BUT THEY ARE IN IT
IS A, IT IS A DETENTION FACILITY, OKAY? SO,
VERY BARE-BONED->>>YEAH.>>>I DID NOT FIND IT
TO BE ABSOLUTELY HORRIFIC, ALTHOUGH THE CHILDREN, YOU
KNOW, A LOTTA CHILDREN WERE SICK AND WEREN’T
GETTING PROPER TREATMENT. THERE’S NO QUESTION ABOUT
THAT. SUBSEQUENTLY, SINCE THE
ADMINISTRATION’S TAKE-OVER, CONDITIONS HAVE
DETERIORATED IN MANY OF THESE FACILITIES, AS YOU
MAY, AS YOU MAY KNOW.>>>RIGHT. SO BEFORE JEFF SESSIONS
AND THIS [LAUGHS] INITIATIVE WHAT-,
EXPLAIN THE DISTINCTION IN THE TREATMENT,
IN THE WAY THE U.S. TREATED SOMEONE WHO CAME
WITH, POTENTIALLY, A LEGAL CLAIM TO ASYLUM, VERSUS
SOMEONE WHO’S JUST CROSSING THE BORDER, WANTS
TO COME INTO THE UNITED STATES, FOR WHATEVER,
WHATEVER REASON.>>>WELL, BEFORE THE
SESSIONS THING, ESSENTIALLY WHAT WOULD
HAPPEN IS YOU WOULD HAVE WHAT’S CALLED THE CREDIBLE
FEAR INTERVIEW. THESE WERE CONDUCTED BY
ASYLUM OFFICERS, WHICH ARE PART OF USCIS,
UNITED STATES CUSTOM AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES, AND
THESE ARE PROFESSIONALS, AND THEY WOULD DETERMINE
WHETHER A PERSON HAD A S-, HAD A CREDIBLE FEAR OF
BEING PERSECUTED ON ONE OF THE FIVE GROUNDS I JUST
MENTIONED. AND THE STANDARD IS ACTUALLY
A FAIRLY GENEROUS ONE. WHETHER YOU HAVE SIGNIFICANT
POSSIBILITY OF PREVAILING->>>RIGHT.>>>SO, YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO
SHOW THAT YOU WOULD ABSOLUTELY PREVAIL, BUT
YOU HAVE SIGNIFICANT POSSIBILITY OF PREVAILING. IF THAT, IF THAT IS THE
CASE, WELL, THEN YOU CAN APPLY FOR, TYPICALLY FOR
BOND, AND AT THAT POINT, YOU COULD BE RELEASED. THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION
RELEASED ABOUT 90 PERCENT OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS.>>>AND YOU’RE NOT CHARGED
WITH A CRIME, OR ARE YOU?>>>TYPICALLY, WELL,
TYPICALLY IN THE PAST, ONLY REPEAT OFFENDERS
WERE, WERE, IN OTHER WORDS, A PERSON WHO CAME
INTO THE->>>RIGHT.>>>INTO THE UNITED STATES
UNLAWFULLY WITHOUT INSPECTION WERE TYPICALLY
CHARGED. MOST WERE GENERALLY NOT
CHARGED CRIMINALLY. ANOTHER THING WE SHOULD
SAY ABOUT CRIMINAL CHARGES, FOR MOST OF OUR
HISTORY, WE REALLY HAVEN’T CHARGED MANY PEOPLE FOR
ILLEGAL ENTRY.>>>WE’VE HAD WAVES UPON WAVES- >>>RIGHT.>>>OF IMMIGRANTS- >>>OF IMMIGRANTS. BUT I MEAN, YOU KNOW,
IN 2005, PRESIDENT BUSH, IN HIS OPERATIONS
STREAMLINE INITIATIVE, BEGAN THIS KIND OF MASSIVE
PROSECUTION, WHERE YOU COULD HAVE A HUNDRED
PEOPLE IN A COURTROOM, WHO ESSENTIALLY ARE BEING,
THEIR CASES ARE BEING RESOLVED, TYPICALLY
THROUGH PLEA BARGAINS, BUT IN, IN KIND
OF THIS MASS MASS, YOU KNOW, TRIAL-TYPE APPROACH,
WHICH, YOU KNOW, MANY PEOPLE OBJECT TO. SO ANYWAY, SO THE, THE
POINT IS THAT, IS THAT FOR MOST OF OUR HISTORY, WE
HAVEN’T USED CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. SINCE 9/11 IT HAS
INCREASED DRAMATICALLY.>>>SO WE’VE HEARD A LOT
ABOUT FAMILY SEPARATIONS, AND THIS IS, THIS APPLIES
TO MORE THAN JUST ASYLUM SEEKERS OBVIOUSLY. WHY DID WE HAVE FAMILY
SEPARATIONS, AND ARE THEY STILL GOING ON?>>>OKAY. WELL, IT’S PART OF THE SO-CALLED
ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY. SO, THE WAY IT WORKS IS
THAT IF YOU CHARGE AN INDIVIDUAL WITH A CRIMINAL
OFFENSE, THAT PERSON CANNOT HAVE HIS CHILDREN,
OR HER CHILDREN WITH THEM WHILE THEY’RE BEING
INCARCERATED. SO, THIS WAS DELIBERATE
POLICY.>>>RIGHT.>>>THIS WAS NOT
SOMETHING, YOU KNOW, SOMETHING THAT JUST
HAPPENED ACCIDENTALLY.>>>RIGHT.>>>THIS WAS WHAT THE
ADMINISTRATION WANTED. THIS WAS- >>>RIGHT.>>>WAS AN OPEN-ENDED WAY
TO DETER IMMIGRATION. IT WAS THE NUCLEAR OPTION
BY, AS DESCRIBED.>>>IF YOU THOUGHT YOUR
FAMILY WAS GONNA BE SEPARATED AND YOU WERE
GONNA END UP IN JAIL, THE ASSUMPTION WAS YOU WON’T
TRY TO CROSS THE BORDER.>>>PRECISELY. SO THIS WAS THE, THIS WAS
DETERRENCE. THIS WAS WHAT
WAS IN THE MIND OF THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION.>>>RIGHT.>>>EXPRESSLY STATED. IT WAS NOT, IT WAS NOT
SOMETHING THAT WAS, YOU KNOW, THAT WAS HIDDEN. THIS WAS THEIR AGENDA. SO THE, SO THEY, AS I
MENTIONED EARLIER, SO THEY PROSECUTED EVERYONE. OKAY? VIRTUALLY EVERYONE, I
SHOULD SAY.>>>ALL RIGHT.>>>AND CONSEQUENTLY,
THEY, THEY TOOK THE KIDS AWAY FROM, FROM PEOPLE WHO
WERE, YOU KNOW, THOSE WHO WERE PROSECUTED. THEY SENT THE KIDS,
GENERALLY, TO VARIOUS FACILITIES, YOU KNOW,
PRIVATE FACILITIES TYPICALLY, BUT, YOU KNOW,
THEY KEPT NO RECORDS. THEY KEPT NO RECORDS OF
THE PARENTS. THEY KEPT NO RECORDS OF
WHERE THE CHILDREN WERE, OR AT LEAST NOT
REASONABLE RECORDS- >>>RIGHT.>>>TO, TO BE ABLE TO PAIR
THEM BACK WITH THEIR CHILDREN AGAIN. I MEAN, IT, IT WAS
SOMETHING THAT REALLY, YOU KNOW, IT MAKES ONE
ASHAMED TO BE AN AMERICAN, TO UNDERSTAND THAT THAT
HAPPENED. FROM A LEGAL POINT OF
VIEW, I THINK ONE CAN MAKE A VERY STRONG ARGUMENT
THAT IT CONSTITUTED PSYCHOLOGICAL TORTURE IN
VIOLATION OF THE TORTURE CONVENTION.>>>RIGHT.>>>WHICH WE ARE PARTIES
TO. YOU KNOW, THESE, THESE
KIDS, SOME OF THE KIDS HAVE BEEN, HAVE, YOU KNOW,
I MEAN, AND THESE KIDS WERE AS YOUNG AS, AS TWO
AND THREE YEARS OLD, THOUGH, THOUGH MOST OF
THEM WERE OLDER THAN THAT. THEY WERE, YOU KNOW, SOME OF
THEM MAY BE SCARRED FOR LIFE. I MEAN, I DON’T KNOW IF
YOU RECALL, THERE’S ONE FAMOUS VIDEO OF THIS
CHILD, WHO DID NOT WANNA GO BACK TO HIS MOTHER,
BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, HE FELT THAT SHE ABANDONED HIM. I MEAN, ITS JUST, IT WAS
JUST HORRIFIC.>>>RIGHT.>>>BUT ANYWAY, SO WHAT
HAPPENED IS THAT. THAT WAS HOW IT WAS DONE,
AND THEN MOST OF THOSE WHO WERE, AND BY THE WAY, ONE
OTHER POINT THAT HAS NOT BEEN WELL-PUBLICIZED IS
THAT THE INITIAL NUMBER WAS ABOUT 2,700 CHILDREN
WERE SEPARATED, THE ADMINISTRATION LATER
ADMITTED THAT IT’S 5,400 CHILDREN WERE
SEPARATED. SO VIRTUALLY, ALMOST
DOUBLE THE NUMBER INDICATED ORIGINALLY. IS IT STILL GOING ON? I THINK THE ANSWER IS YES
ON A, ON A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT LEVEL. THE ACLU ASKED, WHAT’S
HAPPENING WAS THAT THE, THE DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
WHO ESSENTIALLY ORDERED THE STOPPING OF THE, OF
THE SEPARATION POLICY ACCEPTED THE GOVERNMENT’S
ARGUMENT THAT THEY COULD, THEY COULD SEPARATE
CHILDREN WHOSE PARENTS HAD, ESSENTIALLY, CRIMINAL
RECORDS.>>>RIGHT.>>>AND THERE’S A, YOU
KNOW, A SUPERFICIAL RATIONALE FOR THAT. I MEAN, YOU SAY, WELL,
MAYBE THAT’S TRUE, BUT, BUT ACCORDING TO THE ALCU,
THERE WERE PEOPLE WHO HAD DWI’S, OKAY? OR EXPIRED
DRIVER’S LICENSES->>>RIGHT.>>>WHOSE CHILDREN WERE
SEPARATED ON THE- >>>NOT SERIOUS OFFENSES.>>>NOT SERIOUS OFFENSES,
NOT OFFENSES THAT REALLY WOULD AFFECT THE
HEALTH OF THE CHILDREN. SO YOU HAVE TO WONDER,
WERE, WAS THE ADMINISTRATION REALLY
CONCERNED ABOUT THE WELFARE OF THE CHILDREN
THAT THEY ARE, AND THEY ARE CONTINUING TO SEPARATE
THESE CHILDREN, OR WAS THIS JUST ANOTHER WAY FOR
THEM TO CARRY OUT THEIR ORIGINAL POLICY?>>>WHAT HAPPENS TO THE
FOLKS WHO ARE DENIED ASYLUM, WHO ARE NOT
PERMITTED TO ENTER COUNTRIES AS REFUGEES IF
IMMIGRATION IS SLOWED DOWN CONSIDERABLY? IF WE’RE LOOKING AHEAD AT
THE, AT THE NEXT FEW YEARS, WHY IS THIS- >>>WELL- >>>WHAT CAN WE EXPECT
AND WHY IT THIS REALLY SUCH A PROBLEM?>>>WELL, YOU MAY BE
RIGHT, IT COULD BE WORSE BEFORE IT GETS
BETTER. IN OTHER WORDS, A NUMBER,
ACCORDING TO THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER
OF REFUGEES, THAT COMMISSION IS CHARGED
WITH MONITORING COMPLIANCE WITH THE 1951 REFUGEE
CONVENTION, THERE ARE SOME 70.5 MILLION PEOPLE WHO ARE
DISPLACED FROM THEIR HOMES. NOT ALL OF THEM ARE
REFUGEES, BUT- >>>RIGHT.>>>BUT OVER 20 MILLION
ARE. THIS IS A NUMBER GREATER
THAN AFTER WORLD WAR II. SO, YOU HAVE TO ASK
YOURSELF, WHY IS IT HAPPENING? I LISTED THE, YOU KNOW,
SOME OF THE REASONS EARLIER. IS IT GOING TO GET WORSE? I THINK IT, IT COULD GET
WORSE.>>>RIGHT.>>>I MEAN, THERE’S NO
QUESTION. IT’S ALL THE MORE REASON
THAT WE HAVE TO KIND OF, YOU KNOW, YOU KNOW, STEP
UP. I MEAN, I THINK MANY
PEOPLE IN THE UNITED STATES WERE ASHAMED OF OUR
FAILURE TO HELP JEWS ATTEMPTING TO ESCAPE
EUROPEAN THE GRIP OF THE NAZIS WHO HAD CAPTURED
VIRTUALLY ALL OF EUROPE->>>RIGHT.>>>IN WORLD WAR II. BECAUSE WE, UNTIL LATE 1944,
WE ESSENTIALLY DID NOT ADMIT->>>RIGHT.>>>JEWISH REFUGEES. AND WE’RE KIND OF IN AN
ANALOGOUS SITUATION NOW, AND WE ARE THE WEALTHIEST
COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, WE ARE, WE ARE ONE OF THE
LARGEST COUNTRIES IN AREA IN THE WORLD, AND WE
REALLY HAVE AN OBLIGATION. WE, IN THE PAST, YOU KNOW,
HAVE BEEN A GENEROUS ACCEPTOR OF REFUGEES. THAT, OBVIOUSLY IS, IS NO
LONGER OUR ROLE. IN OTHER WORDS, IT’S JUST,
IT’S JUST ABSOLUTELY NO LONGER OUR ROLE.>>>RIGHT.>>>I MEAN, TURKEY HAS
ACCEPTED ABOUT THREE MILLION SYRIANS. AND LEBANON, ONE OUT
OF EVERY FOUR PERSONS IN THEIR COUNTRY IS A SYRIAN
CITIZEN.>>>WOW.>>>WE’VE ACCEPTED A
TRICKLE OF THAT, YOU KNOW, THOUSANDS, NOT
ANYWHERE NEAR THAT, AND YET, AND THOSE COUNTRIES
ARE NOT WEALTHY COUNTRIES.>>>AND, OF COURSE, IN THE
MIDDLE EAST, WE’VE BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR A TREMENDOUS
AMOUNT OF DISRUPTION.>>>WE’VE CERTAINLY PLAYED
A ROLE IN THAT.>>>YEAH.>>>ONE OTHER THING BEFORE
WE GET OFF THE, A COUPLE OF THINGS I DID WANNA
MENTION ABOUT ASYLUM- >>>SURE.>>>THAT THIS
ADMINISTRATION IS DOING THAT I DIDN’T MENTION. IT HAS ISSUED A RULE
SAYING THAT THOSE WHO ENTERED WITHOUT INSPECTION
CANNOT APPLY FOR ASYLUM. NOW, THAT IS CONTRARY TO
THE STATUTE. YOU KNOW, SO I TRUST THAT
THAT RULE WILL NEVER ULTIMATELY BE ENFORCED,
BUT THEY DID, THEY DID ISSUE THAT RULE. THEY ALSO ISSUED THE
REMAIN IN MEXICO POLICY- >>>OH, RIGHT.>>>WHICH IS CALLED, YOU
KNOW, THE MIGRATION PROTECTION PROTOCOL. I MEAN, GEORGE ORWELL COULD
NOT HAVE STATED IT BETTER. IT DOES NOTHING TO
PROTECT- >>>RIGHT.>>>ASYLUM SEEKERS. WHAT IT DOES, IT TAKES
INDIVIDUALS WHO MADE THE LONG TREK, TYPICALLY FROM
THE CENTRAL AMERICAN COUNTRIES, OKAY? THEY, WHO ARE, YOU KNOW,
VULNERABLE INDIVIDUALS, AND THROWS THEM INTO THE
BOUNDARY AREA OF MEXICO, OKAY? WHILE THEY AWAIT A
POTENTIAL HEARING. NOW, THIS IS A AMERICANS
MAY NOT REALIZE THAT, BUT THE MEXICAN
BORDER IS GENERALLY CONTROLLED BY THE CARTELS. I MEAN, SO THERE HAVE
BEEN, HUMAN RIGHTS FIRST HAS DOCUMENTED NUMEROUS
RAPES, ASSAULTS, ROBBERIES->>>RIGHT.>>>MEXICO DOES NOT GIVE
THEM WORK PERMITS, DOES NOT PROVIDE THEM SERVICES. SO THIS IS REALLY A
RELINQUISHMENT, YOU KNOW, OF OUR OBLIGATION, OKAY? UNDER BOTH INTERNATIONAL
LAW AND U.S. LAW. ONE OTHER POINT I’D LIKE
TO RAISE ON THIS IS THAT, NOW THEY, THE
ADMINISTRATION HAS MADE AGREEMENTS WITH GUATEMALA,
SALVADOR AND HONDURAS, SO-CALLED SAFE THIRD-PARTY
AGREEMENTS- AND UNDER, WE HAVE ONE
WITH CANADA, TOO, AND UNDER THAT, THOSE
AGREEMENTS, IF YOU ARE FROM HONDURAS AND YOU WANT
TO COME TO THE UNITED STATES AND SEEK ASYLUM,
YOU HAVE TO APPLY FOR ASYLUM IN GUATEMALA FIRST. NOW, GUATEMALA, OKAY? HAS ONE OF THE HIGHEST
HOMICIDE RATES IN THE WORLD, AS DOES HONDURAS,
AS DOES EL SALVADOR.>>>RIGHT.>>>SO THE IDEA THAT A PERSON
FLEEING FROM HONDURAS->>>HAS TO APPLY, YOU
KNOW, TO, FOR ASYLUM IN GUATEMALA, I MEAN, YOU
KNOW, IT’S RIDICULOUS. AS ONE OF MY
COLLEAGUES SAID, IT, YOU KNOW, IT’S LIKE SAYING,
WELL, A PERSON WHO HAS JUST SURVIVED AN
EARTHQUAKE, YOU KNOW, HE SAID, WELL, WHAT IF YOU
STAY IN THE HOUSE THAT’S BURNING DOWN THE STREET?>>>YEAH.>>>YOU KNOW, SO THIS
IS, THIS IS A POLICY THAT WE REALLY HAVE TO, I’M NOT
TALK-, I MEAN, I’M NOT SURE, EXCUSE ME, HOW MANY
AMERICANS ARE AWARE OF IT, BUT IT IS A POLICY THAT
REALLY HAS TO BE CONDEMNED, CALLED OUT FOR
WHAT IT IS, A WAY TO ESSENTIALLY OFFSHORE OUR
RESPONSIBILITIES.>>>I GUESS WE’RE GONNA
HAVE TO STOP THERE, THOMAS MCDONNELL LAW PROFESSOR AT
PACE UNIVERSITY. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR
COMING IN.>>>WELL, YOU’RE WELCOME,
BOB. IT’S BEEN A PLEASURE.>>>WE’LL BE BACK IN A
MOMENT WITH A FINAL WORD. ONE OF MY HEROES FOR MANY
DECADES HAS BEEN BAYARD RUSTIN. NEVER AS WELL-KNOWN AS HE
SHOULD HAVE BEEN, HE WAS THE PRINCIPLE ORGANIZER OF
THE HISTORIC MARCH ON WASHINGTON IN AUGUST,
1963. A PROTEGEE OF A. PHILLIP RANDOLPH, THE
BRILLIANT LABOR AND CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER, RUSTIN ALSO
BECAME A CRUCIAL ADVISOR TO THE REVEREND DR. MARTIN
LUTHER KING, JR. HE WAS A KEY ARCHITECT OF KING’S
NONVIOLENT APPROACH TO CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVISM. BUT RUSTIN WAS ALSO GAY,
AND HE DIDN’T TRY TO HIDE IT. IT’S A VAST UNDERSTATEMENT
TO SAY THAT THAT HAMPERED HIS CAREER. IN 1953, HE WAS ARRESTED
IN CALIFORNIA FOR HAVING CONSENSUAL SEX WITH A MAN. HE WAS INCARCERATED FOR
TWO MONTHS, AND REQUIRED TO REGISTER AS A SEX
OFFENDER. HE WAS SUBSEQUENTLY
SHUNNED BY MANY ORGANIZATIONS AND SOME
YEARS LATER, HE WAS FORCED OUT OF DR. KING’S INNER
CIRCLE WHEN THE POWERFUL NEW YORK CONGRESSMAN ADAM
CLAYTON POWELL, JR. THREATENED TO TELL THE
PRESS, FALSELY, THAT KING AND RUSTIN WERE INVOLVED
IN A HOMOSEXUAL AFFAIR. THAT KIND OF DISGUSTING,
HATEFUL INTIMIDATION AND COERCION WAS COMMON IN THE
1950S AND ’60S. IT WASN’T HARD TO
UNDERSTAND WHY MOST GAY MEN AND WOMEN REMAINED
CLOSETED. BUT A. PHILLIP RANDOLPH REMAINED
LOYAL TO RUSTIN, AND WHEN RANDOLPH HAD THE CHANCE IN
1963 TO REALIZE HIS LONG-HELD DESIRE TO STAGE
A MASSIVE MARCH ON WASHINGTON, HE INSISTED
THAT THE MARCH BE ORGANIZED BY BAYARD
RUSTIN. THE EXECUTION OF THE MARCH
WAS FLAWLESS, AND IT REMAINS ONE OF THE ICONIC
EVENTS OF THE 20TH CENTURY. RUSTIN, WHO SHOULD HAVE
BEEN ONE OF THE ICONIC FIGURES OF 20TH CENTURY
HISTORY, DIED MORE THAN 30 YEARS AGO, IN 1987. BUT HE HAS NOT BEEN
ENTIRELY FORGOTTEN. THE GOVERNOR OF
CALIFORNIA, GAVIN NEWSOM, HAS ISSUED A POSTHUMOUS
PARDON OVERTURNING RUSTIN’S 1953 CRIMINAL
CONVICTION. THE PARDON WAS AN EXERCISE
IN HUMAN DECENCY THAT REMOVES A WHOLLY UNFAIR
STAIN FROM THE LEGACY OF A GREAT MAN. IT IS AN ACT THAT ALL OF
US WHO LONG FOR JUSTICE, REAL JUSTICE, SHOULD
APPRECIATE. THAT’S ALL FOR NOW.
SEE YOU NEXT TIME. ♪ [CLOSING MUSIC] ♪

3 thoughts on “Thomas McDonnell on the Criminalization of Asylum Seekers | Bob Herbert’s Op-Ed.TV

  1. When this is over I pray Trump experiences the worst , worst suffering imaginable…he deserves no less…he has tortured the downtrodden, the sick,the hungry, anc now we find he knew about an impending pandemic and did nothing …keeping it undergrads because oc the upcoming election..Trump IS SYNONYMOUS WITH EVIL…

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