And another week in hell begins. The president* is demanding an apology from the members of Congress at whom he directed his racist slanders. He also has a new way to save us all from the "invasion"—one that is going to get him sued. And Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross woke up to find himself at the top of the well-used Cabinet slip-and-slide. It's always something.
Going from last to first, the government would be well rid of Ross, he of the amazing disappearing assets. Among his other disqualifications for public service, Ross is tangled up with Deutsche Bank, which is not a line on the resume that sensible and honest people want these days. Of course, having contacts with shady financiers and international grifters is a pre-requisite for a job in this Cabinet. What's got Ross on the express train back into the swamp from whence he came was his role in not giving El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago what he wanted. From NBC News:
Frustrated by Ross' leadership of the Census Bureau, which is within the Commerce Department, Trump has been making calls to allies outside the White House musing about replacing Ross.
The president* didn't get his citizenship question. Ross was unable to use his international money-grubbing Jedi mind tricks to work on judges who can see a church by daylight. Not getting the president* his cookie is the easiest route out of the administration*. So the long slide begins for Ross, who will have a lovely pile of money to break his fall.
Also on Monday, the president*, hard on the heels of his apartheid cosplay on the electric Twitter machine, announced a unilateral change in the country's asylum system. Put briefly, if you come from any of the failing, violent states in Central America, don't even think about following that lamp beside that golden door. You can be Mexican if you want, but don't even think about becoming American. From Time:
According to a new rule published in the Federal Register, asylum seekers who pass through another country first will be ineligible for asylum at the U.S. southern border. The rule, expected to go into effect Tuesday, also applies to children who have crossed the border alone. There are some exceptions: If someone has been trafficked, if the country the migrant passed through did not sign one of the major international treaties that govern how refugees are managed (though most Western countries have signed them) or if an asylum-seeker sought protection in a country but was denied, then a migrant could still apply for U.S. asylum. But the move by President Donald Trump’s administration was meant to essentially end asylum protections as they now are on the southern border.
(You will notice that the northern border will operate as before. As it happens, a number of my relatives came here from Ireland via Halifax. For the first time in my life, I'm wondering if moving south from there was the right call.)
To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the ACLU is already saddled up. From their statement:
The following reaction is from Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the Immigrants’ Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union: “The Trump administration is trying to unilaterally reverse our country's legal and moral commitment to protect those fleeing danger. This new rule is patently unlawful and we will sue swiftly.”
This, of course, isn't the first assault on the asylum rules undertaken by the administration*. Back in 2018, in seeming conflict with a 1951 UN treaty to which the U.S. was a signatory, the administration issued changes in the asylum rules aimed at deterring asylum seekers from coming to the border. An example, from the Voice of America:
At the beginning of 2018, the administration released new and more restrictive guidelines for passing the credible fear interview. According to news reports, a clause in the new interpretation of credible fear was changed to factor in applicants' "demeanor, candor and responsiveness" in determining their credibility. Immigration lawyers have told VOA that trauma, difference in culture, not speaking the language, and the journey from Central America to the U.S. often affect people's behavior. The new guidance says these circumstances should not be seen as "significant factors" in determining credibility, essentially authorizing asylum officers to consider signs of stress as a reason to doubt an applicant's credibility.
"By raising the bar at this initial stage ... the Service (USCIS) is running the risk of screening out those who have bona fide claims but who lack the ability or sophistication to present them to the asylum officer at this early stage," Catholic Legal Immigration Network, a nonprofit group that provides legal services to immigrants, said on its website.
But essentially closing off asylum requests at one border for the purpose of shutting one specific group of asylum seekers? Some judge is going to have a good time with this one.
And, finally, the president* is now arguing that he is the real victim of his own bigotry. And Senator Graham from South Carolina is right there with him. On Fox TV, Lindsey Graham argued that the president* should "aim higher" than attacking four Democratic legislators who happen to be women of color. After all, according to Graham...
“We all know that [Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] and this crowd are a bunch of communists, they hate Israel, they hate our own country, they’re calling the guards along our border—the Border Patrol agents—concentration camp guards. They accuse people who support Israel as doing it for the benjamins, they are anti-Semitic, they are anti-America. Don’t get them—aim higher.”
Christ, this was all before breakfast.