Sonia Sotomayor’s dissent on the asylum rule is a window into the twisted immigration logic of liberals

Sonia Sotomayor's dissent on the asylum rule is a window into the twisted immigration logic of liberals

Anyone confused about the demented psychology of liberals who believe American taxpayers should support all of Central America’s poor can gain instant clarity by reading one of Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s dissents this week.

The court on Wednesday offered temporary relief to the Trump administration by allowing it to go forward with a new rule that will allow immigration authorities to quickly deny asylum requests for Central Americans who didn’t first try to seek refuge in other countries they passed through while making their way to the United States.

Sotomayor’s dissent reads like the script from one of those starving children commercials: For just 10 cents a day, you can save a life. Joined by Justice Ruther Bader Ginsburg, Sotomayor wrote, “the stakes for asylum seekers could not be higher,” and that, “some of the most vulnerable people in the Western Hemisphere” will be affected without having given the American public “a chance to weigh in” on the rule change.

Setting aside the fact that this argument would abolish all executive rule-making if taken to its logical conclusion, it’s unclear why the public would need “a chance to weigh in” on a policy that doesn’t affect a single person in the country. The only way the rule might affect a person already here is if they were hoping some relative or friend would illegally cross the border and then claim asylum. Well, that’s the very problem the administration is trying to solve — hundreds of thousands of people with no meritorious asylum claim are simply hopping onto American soil and securing indefinite legal protection to remain in the country by exploiting the legal loophole that our asylum system has become.

Nobody is denying that the asylum seekers are “vulnerable.” They’re poor and often they’ve left their homes because their broken countries have been overrun by gang violence. But the asylum process wasn’t meant to function as a welfare net for the “vulnerable.” Asylum is for the persecuted. If a person feels persecuted in their own country, why would they need to travel 2,000-plus miles, passing through at least one other country, to get to the U.S. before finally claiming asylum?

They don’t need to. A story in the Washington Post on Saturday proved it, quoting several migrants who decided that because the administration has made it more difficult to get into the U.S., they would simply try elsewhere first (which is the whole point of the rule change). From the story:

Edwin Edgardo Rivera, 32, a bartender and clothing store employee in Honduras, was among those seeking a new life in Mexico. He said he fled Honduras after receiving death threats from a gang angered by his refusal to help them collect extortion payments. He initially thought of heading to the United States. “But it’s very tough,” he said. “Of course, if I can go north, I will,” he confided with a laugh.

Sotomayor can relax. The court’s decision is only effective while related legal questions sort themselves out in lower courts. It could very well be reversed. But at least her dissent offers a wide window into the twisted thought process of open-border advocates.

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