Sessions: Due Process for Thousands of Immigrants to End, 'Deportation Assembly Line' to Begin

May 21, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


With a stroke of his pen, Attorney General Jeff Sessions last week plunged 350,000 people into the terror and uncertainty of knowing they could be arrested and packed away in an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement concentration camp at any moment. He ordered an immediate end to “administrative closure”—a long standing procedure that enables immigration judges to suspend deportation while immigrants pursue other measures, such as visas and asylum hearings, that could help them gain legal status in the U.S.

Who are these people? They are youths who traveled hundreds of miles across treacherous terrain to escape unimaginable violence. They are women and girls who fled child marriages or repeated rapes. People who spent their life savings to escape threats on their lives. People like Reynaldo Castro-Tum, who as a child was brought to this country from Guatemala in 2014, and who applied for asylum.

Expediting Deportation

In January, Sessions personally intervened in Castro-Tum’s case so he could set a precedent to overturn decades of law and put people in administrative closure on what one lawyer called a “deportation assembly line.” Castro-Tum has no lawyer and didn’t appear at his court date because his notice was sent to the wrong address. Sessions argued that closure shouldn’t be granted to Castro-Tum, and declared that judges no longer have the authority to use it.

Administrative closure has always been a double-edged sword against immigrants. It can trap people for years in a legal no-man’s-land: they are still in “official removal proceedings,” but the government is not actively pursuing them for deportation. But taking away administrative closure altogether brings attacks on immigrants to a new level.

Under the U.S. Constitution, immigrants of whatever legal status have the right to “due process”—to having their day in court. Sessions’ decision, on behalf of the entire Trump/Pence fascist regime, denies people even the pretense of hearings, which are their legal right under current U.S. law. It takes rulings out of the hands of judges and imposes one standard for all cases. It is part of the trampling on civil and legal rights essential to fascism’s remaking of society.

Which Side Are You On?

For decades U.S. imperialism has uprooted and shattered millions of lives in many scores of countries on this planet through wars and invasions, environmental devastation, exploitation, and impoverishment. All this is a cornerstone of U.S. global supremacy. Some people who escape the wretched conditions imposed on their homelands manage to make it to this country, trying to make a better life for themselves and their families.

Now, the system of U.S. capitalism-imperialism faces profound new challenges globally and domestically. The Trump/Pence fascist regime has come to power, and forcing out millions of immigrants is central to its drive to consolidate fascism. This regime is an acute danger to the lives of millions of people here and around the world. There is an urgent need to drive it from power through sustained, nonviolent political protest involving millions.

The hour is late. Millions of lives are in jeopardy. If you had lived in Nazi Germany when Jews were being isolated and rounded up—what would you have done?

What are you doing NOW to stop the relentless and, yes, murderous assaults upon immigrants?


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