Trump's War on Immigrants

[Content Note: Nativism.]

Last month, I wrote about White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon rhetorically asking "Don't we have a problem with legal immigration?" before answering his own question: "Twenty percent of this country is immigrants. Is that not the beating heart of this problem?"

I noted that the Trump administration's war on immigrants would not stop with people who are undocumented, nor with a ban on Muslim refugees; that it was only the start of their nativist assault on immigrants, and that it would only be a matter of time before they started coming after people who are documented immigrants and refugees.

In the interim, the Department of Justice "has taken the rare step of seeking to strip a convicted terrorist of his U.S. citizenship as he serves the last several years of a 20-year prison sentence for plotting to destroy New York's Brooklyn Bridge."

And now, the Trump administration is before the Supreme Court arguing that a U.S. citizen, Divna Maslenjak, an ethnic Serb who was granted refugee status after being persecuted in Bosnia, should have her citizenship revoked because she she lied about her husband's military service.

So here we are. Adam Liptak at the New York Times: Justices Alarmed by Government's Hard-Line Stance in Citizenship Case.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. tried to test the limits of the government's position at a Supreme Court argument on Wednesday by confessing to a criminal offense.

"Some time ago, outside the statute of limitations, I drove 60 miles an hour in a 55-mile-an-hour zone," the chief justice said, adding that he had not been caught.

The form that people seeking American citizenship must complete, he added, asks whether the applicant had ever committed a criminal offense, however minor, even if there was no arrest.

"If I answer that question no, 20 years after I was naturalized as a citizen, you can knock on my door and say, 'Guess what, you're not an American citizen after all'?" Chief Justice Roberts asked.

Robert A. Parker, a Justice Department lawyer, said the offense had to be disclosed. Chief Justice Roberts seemed shocked. "Oh, come on," he said.

The chief justice asked again whether someone's citizenship could turn on such an omission.

Mr. Parker did not back down. "If we can prove that you deliberately lied in answering that question, then yes," he said.

The exchange was among several moments of indignation and incredulity during the argument in Maslenjak v. United States, No. 16-309. Several justices seemed taken aback by Mr. Parker's unyielding position that the government may revoke the citizenship of Americans who made even trivial misstatements in their naturalization proceedings.

...Chief Justice Roberts added that the government's position would give prosecutors extraordinary power. "If you take the position that not answering about the speeding ticket or the nickname is enough to subject that person to denaturalization," he said, "the government will have the opportunity to denaturalize anyone they want."
Emphasis mine.

That is precisely the point: The Trump administration is seeking the extraordinary power to denaturalize anyone they want.

Fortunately, it appears as though the Supreme Court isn't inclined to give them that power. But the mere fact that the Trump administration is seeking it is chilling.

And I don't believe for a moment that, if SCOTUS doesn't hand it to them, they'll give up on their expansive war on immigrants. Which is very, very worrying.

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