President Donald Trump, prompted by Fox News’ coverage of a “caravan” of more than 1,000 illegal immigrants making their way through Mexico and towards the United States’ border, fired off a series of tweets on Monday morning lambasting Democrats’ purported inaction on immigration reform and reaching a compromise on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.
The caravan the president is referring to is sponsored by “Pueblo Sin Fronteras,” or People Without Borders, and consists largely of Honduran asylum seekers. Forced from their native countries by poverty, violence, or political unrest, these migrants will present themselves at the southern border, where they will be detained and likely released into the U.S. while their cases traverse the the backlogged immigration courts.
This “catch-and-release policy” — the policy of releasing migrants pending deportation as they await a court date — was implemented during the Bush administration following Zadvydas v. Davis, a 2001 decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that immigrants could not be indefinitely detained.
The president’s determination to push his immigration reform through the Senate has been met with resistance from the Democrats, prompting Trump to call for “the nuclear option,” a change in senate rules which would put an end to the filibuster. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has, in the past, dismissed the option, citing the critical importance of the filibuster to partisan politics.
While concern about the catch-and-release policy is certainly warranted, efforts to reform the policy have been underway since its implementation. The president ordered an end to the policy back in February of last year; according to reports from those involved in immigration policy, catch-and-release has yet to see any tangible change due to existing legislation pursuant to immigration law and a shortage in detention facilities.
Trump’s frustration with the slow-rolling of immigration reform likely stoked his anger with the Democrats, as is indicated by the president’s buck-passing regarding a long-awaited bipartisan decision on DACA in a tweet that accused his opposition of wanting “No Borders, hence drugs and crime.”
The president called for an end to DACA last September, but two federal judges blocked his efforts, leaving approximately 700,000 DACA recipients in limbo, unsure of their immigration status. Democrats have repeatedly offered a DACA solution in exchange for concessions on border security, but Trump and congressional Republicans have met them with steep demands including calls for an end to “sanctuary cities” as well as increased funding for the president’s proposed border wall.