Saturday, August 28, 2021

The disasters mount, but we've got a twofer!


By Immigration Editor Emma Goldman
with Justice Editor Scott V. Sandford

Not since 1968 have the terrible events of recent days have come so thick and fast.  It's easy to lose track of each catastrophe as a new one emerges.  But before they fade from living memory, like the efforts by the previous President to overthrow the United States Government last January, let's spend a minute on a couple of them.

And the good news is: we've got a fix!

As the Afghanistan debacle slides towards its inevitable conclusion, once more drenched in American and Afghan blood, it turns out that even those lucky enough to escape from the Taliban face many obstacles to finding a safe haven, whether in the United States or elsewhere.

For example, it turns out that, according to The Washington Post, some of our Afghan allies and their families evacuated from the madness of Kabul have not been able to get beyond – the tarmac of Dulles Airport (itself named for a notorious warmonger and incompetent Secretary of State who until Mike Pompeo had been regarded as the worst Secretary of State in the history of the Republic):

Once again, America welcomes people
who seem a little different

Afghan evacuees arriving in the United States are running into new problems as they land: Hours-long delays have left hundreds stranded on planes parked at Dulles International Airport outside Washington as they wait to be processed and cleared for entry.

All flights carrying evacuees to the United States are being funneled from interim stops overseas to the airport 25 miles outside the nation’s capital. The lengthy process for thousands of new arrivals includes biometric and biographical screening, as well as coronavirus testing.

The delays are the most recent example of the massive challenge confronting the U.S. government as it has raced to evacuate and resettle tens of thousands of Afghan families

We understand the need for biometric and security screening, but couldn't some bureaucrat have foreseen this problem and we don't know rented some rooms as the Dulles Courtyard by Marriott where desperate Afghan families could be isolated in modest comfort and dignity?  Or taken an inventory of surplus Government buildings that could be converted for temporary housing for refugees?

Speaking of which, let's not let the terrible news from Afghanistan drown out all the other bad news from last week. Here's one gem, brought to you courtesy of two elections in which the popular vote loser snuck in due to a bent Supreme Court decision and an idiot FBI director covering his own ass in public, respectively:

A pretty obscure order from the Supreme Court even by their own standards.  It may be hard to understand, although the last sentence gives the game away.

What's going on here?  The American Immigration Lawyers Association provides some background:

On August 13, 2021, [some stooge] U.S. District Judge [in Amarillo,Texas] issued a nationwide injunction directing the Biden administration to reinstate the Migration Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as “Remain in Mexico.” This Trump-era policy required asylum seekers to wait in dangerous conditions in Mexico for their U.S. court hearings. Those hearings were held in secretive tent courts along the border and were the site of numerous due process violations. Upon taking office, President Biden ended enrollments into MPP and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rescinded the program on June 1, 2021. The Biden administration has worked to bring in over 13,000 formerly MPP individuals into the U.S. to resume their removal hearings.

The Amarillo judge wasn't a-hankerin' to
hear the Department of Justice arguments

Briefly, Judge Kacsmaryk found that the Biden administration illegally terminated MPP because it failed to take into account certain considerations. For example, Judge Kacsmaryk reasoned that the Biden administration ignored whether the government has the detention capacity to hold all asylum seekers and migrants subject to mandatory detention in deciding to end MPP. [Spoiler alert: it does not]

In issuing this injunction, Judge Kacsmaryk accepted as true many of the Trump administration’s claims about the program, including that ending MPP is the cause for the recent rise in border crossings.

Before we go any further, one fun fact: in 2020, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had held that the MPP had not been legally authorized and was thus void.  Its injunction was vacated because the Biden Administration had agreed with the Court and ended the MPP. 

Another fun fact: the Migrant Protection Protocol was the brainchild of grifting white supremacist hatemonger Stephen Miller.  We can't be sure but we suspect he came up with the Orwellian name: the Protocols are designed to do the opposite of protect; they are intended to hurt asylum seekers by forcing them to remain unprotected in Mexico in violation of U.S. asylum law.  It's like Andy Gropo calling his behavior as Governor the Subordinate Women Protection Program.

So you've got the Law West of the Amarillo calling a decision to stop tormenting asylum seekers by making them wait in tents in dangerous Mexican border towns “arbitrary and capricious.”  And you had the Ninth Circuit last year calling the decision to impose such torment unlawful.

What's a Supreme Court to do?  Especially in an area of exclusively federal competence (immigration) and in a field in which courts have traditionally deferred to the executive (conduct of U.S. foreign policy, in this case vis-á-vis Mexico).  

Might as well do something useful with the building

If you guessed forced Biden to keep the illegal Former Loser Grifter policy in place, you've won a dream date with Brett Kavanaugh! And Squiffy, and the rest of the weight-lifting club! Pro tip: better wear a one-piece bathing suit under your kilt.

In their defense, how could the Supreme Court know that the Amarillo injunction at issue intruded into a core Executive power? Except by reading the submission of that well-known immigrant-rights group, the Department of Justice:

Notwithstanding the “danger of unwarranted judicial interference in the conduct of foreign policy,” .. the district court would -- at the behest of States who may concededly gain nothing -- supervise the good faith of the diplomacy needed to reestablish a version of MPP that would function effectively in August 2021 and thereafter.

And the Supreme Court could hardly be expected to comprehend just how awful, unjust, and illegal the Rot-in-Mexico program was, right

The district court’s mandate to abruptly re-impose and maintain that program under judicial supervision would prejudice the United States’ relations with vital regional partners, severely disrupt its operations at the southern border, and threaten to create a diplomatic and humanitarian crisis.  

So where are we?  Short answer: who knows?  There's no doubt that the MPP created terrible suffering, up to and including sexual assault and death, which are apparently not matters that trouble the deep jurisprudential thinkers down in Amarillo

The policy, officially known as Migrant Protection Protocols, mandates that non-Mexican asylum return to Mexico as they await hearings in the United States. It has resulted in the creation of makeshift camps where hundreds of migrants have waited for weeks, if not months, in squalid and unsafe conditions. In some cases, migrant families have opted to send children across the US-Mexico border alone.

Lawyers for the asylum seekers called the government's policy illegal and said that in the months that it has been in effect "reports of murder, rape, torture kidnapping, and other violent assaults against returned asylum seekers have climbed."

Sounds hopeless?

Not to the Spy.

If the Supreme Court assigns zero harm to people living unguarded in tents, then perhaps they would like to try the experience for themselves. In turn, the Afghan refugees now rotting on planes in Virginia could be processed someplace safe and well-guarded: the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill. There's lots of space, a big cafeteria, and even a basketball court.

Maybe a few months of doing whatever it is they are doing, seemingly unrelated to law, in tents on the lawn in front of their building will give Brett “One-Eyed Wonder” Kavanaugh, “Long Dong” Thomas, John “the Bongmaster ” Roberts '76 and Spooky Amy among others a new respect for the hardships faced by asylum seekers and the appropriately modest role of the Supreme Court in dictating the foreign relations of the United States.

Or maybe not.  But at least the taxpayers of the United States will be able to use one of the buildings they own for its intended purpose: justice.

STOP PRESS: As we go to press we have learned of another easily guarded Washington landmark that is currently going almost entirely unused but would be ideal for housing and processing Afghan refugees:

No comments:

Post a Comment