Storming the United States’ southern border

Storming the United States’ southern border, by the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board.

Migrants stormed the US border near San Diego on Sunday, and from the media coverage you’d think the culprits were the Border Patrol agents who used tear gas to disperse the mob and defend themselves. But the officers were right to repel the crowds, and the tragedy is that such lawlessness will undermine support for legal asylum in the US.

Hundreds of migrants overwhelmed Mexican law enforcement and rushed north, and some stormed the car lanes at San Ysidro, the Western Hemisphere’s biggest land-border crossing. Others surged through gaps in the nearby border fence. …

US President Donald Trump responded with typical overkill, threatening on Twitter to “close the Border permanently if need be.” …

Mr Trump is also being vilified for seeking to keep asylum seekers inside Mexico as they wait to have their requests reviewed by US agents. But 69 of the migrants who rushed the border Sunday made it to US soil. They were detained and will be prosecuted, but the Immigration and Nationality Act allows them to apply for asylum now, despite their lawlessness.

The Trump Administration wants to prevent migrants who enter the US illegally from qualifying for asylum. But activists sued, and federal Judge Jon Tigar issued a temporary restraining order last week.

So the invaders are likely to get in, despite the express wishes of the elected President and various laws. Who is really in charge? Who can be held responsible when it goes pear shaped?

hat-tip Stephen Neil