The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has never been an organization noted for applying sound logic to policy problems. Nevertheless, it appears to have totally relinquished whatever tenuous hold it may have had on reality. What is the nation’s premier agitator on behalf of illegal aliens and other immigration violators whining about now?

Officials at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have been coordinating with their counterparts at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to facilitate the arrest of illegal aliens who have already been ordered deported, have re-entered the country illegally following deportation, or are considered “an egregious criminal alien.”

That shouldn’t be particularly shocking. USCIS and ICE (and U.S. Customs and Border Protection [CBP]) were once separate divisions within the former Immigration and Naturalization Service. And as part of the Department of Homeland Security, they exercise distinct, but complementary, responsibilities. But, according to the ACLU, ICE is prohibited from removing any aliens who have applied for a “Waiver of Unlawful Presence” and are waiting for USCIS to adjudicate their waiver application.

The basis for this prohibition is, supposedly, the “Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver” regulations, enacted under the Obama administration. The ACLU claims that the government created a “path” for illegal aliens to obtain a green card and, “the government can’t create that path and then arrest folks for following that path.”

So, the social justice warriors at the ACLU have filed a class action suit on behalf of nine illegal aliens, residing in New England. All nine have repeatedly violated U.S. immigration law but still think they’re entitled to a green card. You see, under the warped logic applied by the ACLU, it’s the law-breaking foreigners who are really the victims here.

But, the ACLU appears to be willfully ignoring the fact that the regulations it cites specifically allow ICE, or CBP, to reinstate removal, deportation or exclusion orders against aliens who have unlawfully re-entered the country. It also seems to be ignoring the fact that the Obama administration’s regulations were probably totally illegal. The Executive Branch doesn’t have the authority to unilaterally overrule Congress’s mandates regarding who is eligible to seek a green card in the United States.

Given the fundamental flaws in the ACLU’s legal arguments, will this case be a slam-dunk for the Trump administration? It’s possible. Despite the Bay State’s reputation as a bastion of pro-illegal alien sentiment, the only lower court judge to get the law right on the Trump “travel ban” was Federal District Court of Massachusetts Judge Nathaniel Gorton. In a clear succinct ruling, he unapologetically dismissed one of the lawsuits against President Trump.

Nevertheless, for every constitutionalist justice occupying the federal bench in Massachusetts, there’s at least three activist judges who see the courts as a supra-legislature, responsible for correcting policies, rather than interpreting and applying the law. Only time will tell whether the ACLU’s war of attrition will succeed in eroding President Trump’s constitutionally sound immigration policies.

Matthew J. O’Brien writes for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). 



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