What's happening at our border is an inhumane crime in progress
As Trump dithers back and forth over whether he will completely shut down access across the southern U.S. border or if he manages somehow to manipulate Mexico over the next year into acting as a buffer zone and barrier blocking migrants from entering the U.S., it needs to be pointed out that the crisis that is growing to the south has only been made worse by Trump administration policies, and in fact that the core of his approach— including the “zero tolerance” policy—is in fact a crime in progress.
Simply put, Trump has turned existing asylum laws upside down by choosing to arrest and detain people who have literally not broken the law by crossing the border because it is fully legal to do so if a person’s intention is to apply for asylum.
(1) In general. – Any alien who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States (whether or not at a designated port of arrival and including an alien who is brought to the United States after having been interdicted in international or United States waters), irrespective of such alien’s status, may apply for asylum in accordance with this section or, where applicable, section 235(b). [Emphasis added.]
Once someone applies for asylum, they become subject to U.N. protections under the 1951 Refugee Convention, which was established following the Holocaust in Europe to protect those who would face the threat of death if they were placed back into their home country, an international right called non-refoulement.