Teri Kanefield @Teri_Kanefield Author, lawyer (U.C. Berkeley). My threads are here: terikanefield-blog.com/ My author website is here: www.terikanefield.com/ Nov. 26, 2018 3 min read

(Thread) Trump (and his administration) willfully violate international and domestic laws.

The law: If asylum seekers arrive at the border without documents, they can do one of two things:

1/ They can (1) present themselves for admission at a port of entry, and claim asylum or “fear of persecution”, or
(2) they can enter illegally and present themselves to an official as quickly as possible and claim asylum or "fear of persecution.” (section 208 of the INA)

2/ They then are legally entitled to a hearing to determine if they are eligible for asylum status.

Therefore, when migrants “rush” to the border (if their intent is to seek asylum) they are within their rights.

3/ The law is here:  https://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/SLB/HTML/SLB/0-0-0-1/0-0-0-29/0-0-0-1687.html 

Today we have reports that US Border agents fired tear gas into Mexico—at families with children—to disperse and drive the migrant seekers back.

4/ Tear gas was banned by the 1993 Geneva Convention as a chemical weapon.

The 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention doesn’t apply to domestic law enforcement, but the tear gas was fired into Mexico against persons NOT in the US.  https://www.opcw.org/chemical-weapons-convention/articles 

5/ Firing tear gas into a neighboring country targeting civilians is a war crime. Full stop.

One border agent said that a migrant threw a “projectile” (I call baloney. Ridiculous to think that families seeking asylum will start a fight at the border).

6/ I didn't see a description of the "projectile."

We have a rule known as Reasonable Use of Force.  https://www.criminaljusticeprograms.com/articles/reasonable-use-of-force/ 
Law enforcement must use the least amount of force needed for the safety of all involved.

7/This isn't the first time Trump has ordered lawbreaking at the border.

The separate families policy violated the Due Process Clause, which applies to all ‘persons’ in the US, including aliens, whether their presence here is lawful, unlawful, temporary. . .” (Zadvydas v. Davis)

8/ For more on how the separation policy violated domestic law, see the article I coauthored with @jedshug:

Then, in June, the administration gave asylum seekers a choice: They can have their kids back if they voluntarily deport themselves.


This was a violation of 18 USC 1203(a), hostage taking, which is defined as detaining or threatening to detain a person to compel a third person (or government organization) to do or not do a thing as a condition for release.

10/ Yes, Trump is willfully and repeatedly breaking laws—which is no surprise. He’s been breaking laws all his life.

Remember when he said “all our laws are corrupt and stupid” and his audience cheered?  https://www.mlive.com/expo/erry-2018/04/bab779dc196618/ten_highlights_from_donald_tru.html 

Okay, so why all the cruelty at the border?

11/ One reason is to keep his base riled up, which he does by igniting what Profs. Stenner and Haidt call an authoritarian dynamic. See a description here 👇

12/ Keeping his base riled (and his critics outraged) is part what Prof. Snyder calls governing "by crisis and spectacle”👇

People get worn out, overwhelmed, and eventually give up. And of course, nobody can focus on the investigations against Trump.

13/ There's an irony: HRC did not commit a crime, yet years were spent "investigating" a non-crime, until large segments of the population believed she did commit a crime. Even people who knew she hadn’t felt a nagging doubt.

14/ On the other hand, if a president commits crimes weekly, one after another, nobody can focus. People get worn out and give up.

See? There's a method to the madness.

Oh, and there is one more reason motivating the cruelty at the border:
Trump is a cruel human being.

15/ I am adding this tweet to my thread because it's lovely. And of course, true.

You can follow @Teri_Kanefield.


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