During a visit to Calexico, California last Friday, President Donald Trump reportedly told Border Patrol agents to defy U.S. law and refuse to allow migrants into the country.
“Behind the scenes,” CNN reported Monday, citing two anonymous sources, “the president told border agents to not let migrants in. Tell them we don’t have the capacity, he said. If judges give you trouble, say, ‘Sorry, judge, I can’t do it. We don’t have the room.’”
“After the president left the room, agents sought further advice from their leaders, who told them they were not giving them that direction and if they did what the president said they would take on personal liability,” according to CNN. “You have to follow the law, they were told.”
Critics were quick to argue that the president’s reported remarks amount to a blatant violation of his constitutional duty:
This is extraordinarily dangerous and a clear breach of his oath of office. https://t.co/0SngKUsVR1
— Kenneth Zinn (@kennethzinn) April 9, 2019
The president also aggressively pushed to reinstate his family separation policy, CNN reported, confirming earlier reporting from NBC.
“He just wants to separate families,” an anonymous senior administration official told CNN.
CNN‘s report came just as a federal judge in California blocked Trump’s policy of forcing some asylum-seekers to return to Mexico as they await a court appearance.
Charanya Krishnaswami, advocacy director for the Americas at Amnesty International USA, welcomed the judge’s ruling in a statement, calling the president’s policy “cruel and irresponsible.”
“Asylum-seekers passing through Mexico have already endured dangerous journeys to flee desperate situations,” Krishnaswami said. “Returning them to Mexico and forcing them to wait there would put them at real risk of serious human rights violations. As it currently…