By Nolan Rappaport

© Greg Nash

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) claims that “Democrats are committed to border security,” but the Democrats have opposed President Donald Trump’s efforts to do that.

Pelosi supported the joint resolution to terminate Trump’s declaration of a National Emergency at the Southern border. The resolution was passed in both chambers and sent to Trump on March 14. He vetoed it the next day.

Congress appears unlikely to override the veto, so the fate of the declaration probably will be decided by the same Ninth Circuit Courts that flouted precedent to block Trump’s travel ban, which almost certainly will result in another lower court defeat for Trump. The Supreme Court, however, may reverse the lower courts, as it did in the travel ban case. But that could take quite some time.

The Catch-22 at the heart of the matter

During the Bill Clinton administration the government entered into a settlement agreement that makes it difficult to remove aliens who bring their children with them when they make an illegal border crossing.

This became apparent last May, when Trump announced a zero-tolerance border security enforcement policy. Illegal entries are a crime: The first offense is a misdemeanor and subsequent offenses are felonies. Trump tried to use a no exceptions threat of a criminal prosecution as a deterrent. “If you cross the border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you,” he said — no exceptions for aliens who bring their children with them.

The problem was prosecution of an alien who has his child with him requires the government either to detain the child with him while he is being prosecuted or separate him from his child.

Published originally on The Hill.

Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years. He subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years.