Attorney General Jeff Sessions likes to talk tough about combatting Mexican drug cartels, but his immigration policies are actually a gift to the criminal organizations that are flooding America's streets with heroin and slaughtering law enforcers across the border.
That's because Sessions wants to toughen up America's immigration courts, which are already a nightmare for asylum-seekers, who aren't entitled to an attorney. That means many defendants - even children as young as 2 or 3 years old - end up having to defend themselves in cases that can be life or death if drug cartels or other ruthless criminals back home are waiting for the defendants to be deported.
"In some cases, deportations do turn out to be a death sentence," John Oliver noted yesterday on 'Last Week Tonight.' That was the case for Constantino Morales, "a Mexican police officer that was targeted by a drug cartel. He fled to the US and ended up in immigration court in [Iowa]. He couldn't afford an attorney, so he represented himself in court before a judge who opts to deport 84 percent of the time. Morales lost his case...He was deported back to Mexico, and 6 months and 29 days after that decision, he was killed. And that is fucking heartbreaking."
That's how many Des Moines police officers felt after fighting for Morales as though he was one of their own. “What a failure on the part of our asylum system that this police officer was sent back and then was killed,” Sandra Grossman of the American Immigration Lawyers Association said of the tragedy.
But that failure wasn't surprising for Morales, who knew that losing his case would probably mean losing his life as well.
"I'm scared of being killed in Mexico...because I participated in fighting organized crime and drug traffickers," Constantino wrote in his asylum application. "My family, my wife and children, whom I still support by sending money from my work in the United States, are still at risk."
And Constantino's case isn't an aberration. The incident happened under President Barack Obama's watch, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions isn't interested in fixing the broken system for the Trump administration. In fact, Sessions' hardline approach to defendants in immigration court will likely result in more de facto death sentences for people like Morales.
"Sessions says that he wants to hire more judges, which the system does need," Oliver noted. "But he's also said that he wants the judges to move faster and advocated for increased scrutiny of what he called 'fake asylum claims.' Which does seem like the wrong approach because immigration courts are a lot like sex: the way to improve them is rarely to say, 'Hey, let's do this a lot faster and meaner and have Jeff Sessions oversee the whole thing.'"
And in this case, the only ones getting screwed are the people with legitimate reasons to seek asylum. Find out more about them in this clip.