Q: Can Trump use troops at the border?
A: It depends on what the troops do there.
Meanwhile, remember: this is a PR stunt & manufactured crisis. Trump wants a cultural war about the caravan. Let's not give him one.
1/ The Posse Comitatus Act makes it illegal for the army to enforce domestic laws. The point is to limit the muscle of the federal government (what libertarians and conservatives say they want.)
So legally, the troops can't detain or arrest anyone, etc.
2/ There are things they can do: Transport border patrol to hard to reach places, provide medical assistance, etc.
NOTE: It's LEGAL for migrants to present themselves for asylum at ports of entry.
3/ If migrants present themselves at a point of entry and request asylum, they’re entitled to a hearing to determine if they qualify.
Crossing between ports of entry is a federal misdemeanor, but even if they cross between points of entry. . .
4/ . . . they still have a right under international law to present themselves to an official and claim asylum. (They should do so as quickly as they can).
The troops-going-to-the-border thing is a Trump-style publicity stunt —a way keep the spotlight on the caravan.
5/ Trump knows when everyone is talking about Manafort, Cohen, or crazed MAGA shooters, etc., his approval rating DROPS.
But when he ignites a cultural war (as in the Kavanaugh debacle or immigrant hysteria) his approval rating RISES.
6/ A cultural war over migrants is what Snyder calls governing by spectacle and crisis. It keeps people from wondering “how is Trump making our lives better” or “what about the Mueller probe,” because they’re thinking “he’s protecting us from our enemies!”
7/ Sarah Sanders implied that the administration might suspend both Posse Comitatus and Habeas Corpus, which would basically allow the administration to dispense with trials and due process. (Lincoln and Jackson both suspended habeas corpus in wartime). https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/habeas_corpus …
8/ Notice we’re talking hypotheticals here. They “might” suspend habeas corpus or “they’re not ruling it out.”
The caravan won’t be here until after the midterms.
That's important because there's only one way Trump can get away with violating the law:
9/ Trump can only get away with violating the law if he retains a Congress that shields him.
The way to prevent border atrocities—and to remedy our current constitution crisis— is to elect a Congress that will act as a check on presidential power.
10/ And the best way to elect a Congress that will act as a check presidential power (instead of shielding Trump) is NOT to take the bait.
Don't give Trump the fight he wants.
Instead, let's talk about that latest RICO suit against the Trumps. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/lawsuit-accuses-president-trump-his-family-misleading-investors-n925851 …
11/ Let’s talk about Manafort, and how Cohen stated under oath that Trump directed him to violate federal election law.
Let's talk about the stickers on Cesar Sayoc's van. Or bombs being sent through the mail.
12/ If you’re curious to know more about the migrants beyond Trump’s lies and hype, I spent a week last summer as a volunteer lawyer offering legal assistance to asylum seekers.
I did a thread of my experiences:
But let's talk about Manafort, shall we?
You can follow @Teri_Kanefield.
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