President Donald Trump said on Sunday that people who enter the United States illegally should be sent back immediately to where they came from without any judicial process, likening them to invaders who are trying to “break into” the country.
His proposal drew immediate criticism from legal analysts and immigrant rights advocates who said it would violate the US Constitution’s due process provision, which applies to citizens and non-citizens alike.
In a series of tweets on Sunday, Trump said: “We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country. When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came.”
“Cannot accept all of the people trying to break into our Country. Strong Borders, No Crime!”
It was unclear if Trump was advocating an expansion of the provision that allows expedited removals of illegal immigrants at or near the US border, a policy his administration has embraced since he took office. Nor did Trump differentiate between illegal immigrants and people who entered the United States to seek asylum protection.
“The president of the United States has just forcefully proposed the end of political asylum and no due process for migrants,” Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, wrote on Twitter.
Lee Gelernt, the deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, told Reuters: “The administration cannot simply get rid of all process for immigrants. The due process clause absolutely applies. It’s not a choice.”
Authorities can bypass due process protections with the expedited removals policy that allows quick deportations if an immigrant is apprehended within 160 km of the border and has been in the country less than 14 days. Those seeking asylum must be granted a hearing.
Trump’s tweets on Sunday came after a week of global outcry over images and video of crying children and their distraught parents separated at the US-Mexico border. Critics in Trump’s Republican Party, as well as his wife and daughter, urged him to abandon the policy.
The president buckled to the pressure on Wednesday, issuing an executive order that ended the separations. But the government has yet to reunite more than 2,000 children with their parents.