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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

How much of an immigration ‘crisis’ exists remains a matter of debate

President Donald Trump on Monday tweeted about immigrants

President Donald Trump on Monday tweeted about immigrants in the U.S. illegally. Credit: AP / Pablo Martinez Monsivais

The clearest impact so far of recent White House gyrations over immigration, refugee status and illegal border crossings has been more public controversy.

Forced under pressure less than a week ago to signal retreat from his politically toxic family-separation policy, President Donald Trump later launched a spray of verbal missiles.

In theory, his most significant Twitter blurt involves the lack of due process for those who enter the U.S. without authorization.

“When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no judges or court cases, bring them back from where they came,” the president tweeted.

That touches on a legitimate core question: What rights can noncitizens who break the law just by arriving demand of the American government?

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), quotes the Fifth Amendment in response. “No person shall be . . . deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law,” Amash tweeted.

The ACLU also claims curbing due process for anyone facing adjudication would be illegal.

But whether those are valid defenses, no big shift from the current legal approach seems forthcoming in the GOP-controlled Congress.

Neither does the major funding needed for Trump’s proposed wall.

Even the urgency of the crisis itself is still debated.

Tony Martinez, the Democratic mayor of Brownsville, Texas, told The New York Times: “There is not a crisis in the city of Brownsville with regards to safety and security.

“There’s no gunfire. Most of the people that are migrating are from Central America. . . . They’re trying to just save their own lives. We’re doing fine, quite frankly.”

Just for perspective: Government data indicate unauthorized crossings from Mexico have declined long-term. Border arrests spiked in March over the same period a year earlier, but the number remained lower than in 2013 and 2014.

From the right have come warnings for years that those here without documentation are putting an invasive foothold in the U.S.

In recent days, anti-Trump critics responded by citing news items this year about how Russian women, who can afford the big expense, fly over to Florida to give birth so their babies can automatically become a U.S. citizen.

There were crackdowns on such practices before Trump took office.

In 2015, for example, the Department of Homeland Security raided luxury apartment complexes in Southern California billed as “maternity hotels” where Chinese women could do the same for a big price.

For the moment, thousands of children separated from families remain in custody — with complex questions remaining as to how and under what conditions they’ll be reunified.


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