Trump’s contempt for the rule of law was on full display when he mocked the very idea of due process for immigrants, and seemed to suggest ending immigration courts altogether.
In an interview that aired during Thursday morning’s “Fox & Friends,” host Brian Kilmeade pointed out that Trump’s crackdown has contributed to a monumental backlog in immigration courts.
“You need more judges,” Kilmeade said. “How close is that?”
“Think of it, we are the only country, essentially, that has judges,” Trump said. “They want to hire thousands of judges. Other countries have, it’s called security people. People that stand there and say ‘You can’t come in.
“We have thousands of judges, and they need thousands of more judges,” Trump said. “The whole system is corrupt, It’s horrible. So, yeah, you need thousands of judges based on this crazy system.”
“Who ever heard of a system where you put people through trials?” Trump asked. “Where do these judges come from? You know, a judge is a very special person. How do you hire thousands of people to be a judge? So, it’s ridiculous. We’re going to change the system. We have no choice for the good of our country.”
Trump’s ignorance of immigration courts is staggering, even by Trump’s standards. There are only just over three hundred immigration judges in the United States, and the number of new judges needed to address the backlog is between 200 and 250, not “thousands.”
And Trump is also wrong about the level of due process afforded in immigration courts, where the government is not required to provide legal counsel and, children often end up representing themselves in perfunctory proceedings.
But even worse than our current dysfunctional immigration courts is the prospect that Trump would try to do away with them, as he suggests.
Time and again, Trump has shown contempt for bedrock democratic concepts like free speech, freedom of the press, and an independent Justice Department. Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress have shown equal contempt for their own role as a check on the White House, which makes Trump’s despotic ruminations that much scarier.