The New York Times: Trump Calls for Depriving Immigrants Who Illegally Cross Border of Due Process Rights

By Katie Rogers and Sheryl Gay Stolberg
25 June, 2018


Commentary by Francois Crépeau: “There is nothing that nationalist populist politicians hate more than independent review of their decisions. This is why doing away with due process rights and with effective oversight by an independent judiciary is what they always try to achieve. Viktor Orban and the Polish leaders are already quite far down this path, and President Trump is manifestly intent at emulating them. They all refuse to recognise that complex contemporary democracies are not governed by simple majority rule, but that their legitimacy rests on a tripod: electoral representation (the majority rule), human rights or civil liberties (for the protection of minority persons), and the Rule of Law (or the capacity of any individual to go to court to contest a decision taken in the name of the majority). Since the horrors of WWII, we have decided that majorities could be wrong, in that their decisions could fail to respect the human rights or civil liberties of a member of a minority, and that judges had the legitimacy to say so, to tell an elected body that their decision would not be applied, despite the “will of the people” (which is only the will of the majority). Defining minority groups as the enemy and neutering “unelected” judges is a hallmark of nationalist populist politics.

President Trump unleashed an aggressive attack Sunday on unauthorized immigrants and the judicial system that handles them, saying that those who cross into the United States illegally should be sent back immediately without due process or an appearance before a judge.

“We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country,” Mr. Trump tweeted while on the way to his golf course in Virginia. “When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came.”

It was another twist in a head-spinning series of developments on immigration since the administration announced a “zero tolerance” policy two months ago, leading to the separation of children from parents who cross the border illegally and an outcry from Democrats and many Republicans.

Mr. Trump signed an executive order to end the separations last week, but the sudden shifts have led to confusion along the border about how children and parents will be reunited and to turmoil in Congress as the House prepares to vote on a sweeping immigration bill this week.

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