Tens of thousands of people could end up stuck in the Trump administration’s border detention centers because of Jeff Sessions.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions appears ready to upend the way America handles asylum seekers who are caught crossing the border.
Sessions is considering a rule change that would mean immigrants fleeing persecution or domestic violence in their home countries could be left in inhumane border detention centers for years, with no right to a trial.
For years, undocumented immigrants who demonstrate “credible fear” of returning to their home countries have been eligible for asylum in the United States. However, actually being granted asylum takes time — often months or even years — which is why these immigrants are generally allowed to continue living in the U.S. until their case is resolved.
Now, Sessions has personally decided to take on an immigration case that would allow him to make detention mandatory for any asylum seeker caught crossing the border. Not only would that mean detaining thousands of people, it would mean detainees could no longer receive expedited resolutions to their cases.
From a logistical standpoint, this actually makes things tougher for the government. If Sessions moves forward with a rule change, the U.S. will suddenly be responsible for housing these immigrants for years.
Instead of simplify the U.S. immigration process or saving money, Sessions' plan would be a new complicated, expensive way to punish people looking for a better and safer life in America. In fact, the Trump administration’s immigration policies seem to be primarily motivated on devising new ways to inflict the maximum amount of suffering on non-citizens.
Detention centers are already notoriously unpleasant places where human beings are kept in cages, sometimes without even proper beds or blankets to sleep in — but the Trump administration is intentionally making the process worse.
Sessions also already took a knife to the asylum process earlier this year when he decided domestic violence victims no longer meet the “credible fear” threshold for asylum. He also instructed the Board of Immigration Appeals to stop giving asylum seekers the right to a full hearing after being denied.
The administration's disturbing approach to immigration has even been compared to "torture" by the U.N. Human Rights Council.
Unfortunately, that appears to be the point. Sessions and the Trump administration are willing to do almost anything to scare people off from coming to America.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.