Monday, April 20, 2020

Can the Trump administration prevent asylum-seeking aliens from entering the US during COVID-19?

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Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and nine other Democratic senators wrote a letter to DHS Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf in which they accuse him of exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to summarily expel large numbers of people arriving at our border in clear contravention of existing federal laws.
DHS has been engaging in such expulsions to implement the CDC's “Order Suspending Introduction of Certain Persons From Countries Where a Communicable Disease Exists,” which was issued pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 265 of the Public Health and Welfare Act.
According to the senators, “DHS has gone far beyond the parameters of CDC’s limited order and granted itself sweeping powers to summarily expel large, unknown numbers of individuals arriving at our border.”
They argue that contrary to existing law, DHS is depriving aliens arriving at the border of an opportunity to apply for asylum or other forms of humanitarian protection.
The senators acknowledge that the courts have interpreted section 212(f) of the INA as giving the Executive Branch extraordinary authority to deny entry to certain aliens, but they claim that this provision is limited to specific classes of individuals and therefore does not apply to this situation.
I understand the concern they are expressing over depriving aliens arriving at our border of an opportunity to apply for humanitarian relief, but the administration is using emergency measures to deal with a COVID-19 crisis that are well within the scope of its authority.
Read the rest from Nolan Rappaport HERE.

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