If you watched Trump’s utterly disgusting comments about immigration and sanctuary cities, you probably know that he told several lies to justify his barbaric and inhumane policies, like separating children from their families (more than a thousand of those children have subsequently been literally lost. They can’t find them. The Washington Post’s Fact Checker provides the details:
First, about his claim that we have a policy of catch and release that leads to violent gang members going free:
As we’ve reported, with some exceptions, catch and release in the United States applies only to people seeking asylum or refugee status and to unaccompanied children from noncontiguous countries. (Canada and Mexico thus are excluded, and anyone from those countries can be immediately sent back if caught.) The catch-and-release debate primarily revolves around the waves of immigrants fleeing violence and crime in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
To hear Trump tell it, when local police departments arrest an undocumented immigrant, they just automatically let them go. That is false. Unless something goes terribly wrong, they aren’t going to release someone who has committed a violent crime because those are actual crimes at the state level, which the police enforce every day. The legal argument from sanctuary cities — and the courts have so far agreed with them in almost every case — is that they cannot be required to enforce federal laws and all immigration laws are federal ones. But if someone is caught who has committed armed robbery or assault or murder, they’re going to charge them under state law.
Trump said “thousands” of immigration judges are hearing, or being drafted to hear, these cases. In fact, 334 such judges were hearing cases in 60 immigration courts across the country as of mid-April, according to congressional testimony from James McHenry, the director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review in the Department of Justice.Trump has directed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “allocate all legally available resources to immediately assign immigration judges to immigration detention facilities,” according to an executive order issued in January.
However, barring extraordinary circumstances, it’s not likely that “thousands” of immigration judges will be hearing these cases during Trump’s administration. These judges and their support staff must be funded. Their offices would require physical space. A retirement boom is subtracting steadily from their ranks.
“I believe the budget is accounting to try to add at least 100 judges,” which theoretically would raise the total number to 430 or so, said Judge A. Ashley Tabaddor, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges. However, “judges are retiring at an unprecedented rate, and frankly, we’re not given those numbers,” she said.
For crying out loud, there are less than 900 Article III judges on the entire federal bench (not counting specialty courts, which raises the number to about 1300 if you count them). The claim that they’re going to snap their fingers and put “thousands” of judges in place just to hear immigration cases is patently absurd. But saying patently absurd things is Trump’s particular specialty. Immigration judges are not actually pat of the judicial branch, they are part of the executive branch, and Trump can’t even fill out the top jobs at some of our most important agencies, like the State Department.
Trump also claimed that no other country in the world gives court hearings to those who came here illegally, but the Post points out that, in fact, virtually every major country in the world does that, including all of our European allies. What’s the alternative, street justice? Let a border patrol agent decide who can stay and who can’t? Many of those people come here and apply for asylum or refugee status, which can only be determined by a judge, not a beat cop.