“Our immigration laws are a disgrace. … Catch and release. You catch them, you release them. And just to show how ridiculous — we have judges. We have thousands of judges. Do you think other countries have judges? We give them, like, trials.”
— President Trump, during a round table on taxes in Cleveland, May 5, 2018
“If one foot hits our country, we have to take those people gently, register them and then release them. Okay? We’re going to release them, essentially, in a short period of time. So we release them. And then they’re supposed to come for a court case. We hire more judges — we’re trying to hire thousands of judges. No other country in the world does it.”
— Trump, during a round table on taxes in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., April 5, 2018
“There’s no place in the world that has laws like we do. Catch and release, think of it. We catch somebody, we find out they’re criminals. We end up having to release them and they go into our society.”
— Trump, during a round table on sanctuary cities in California, May 16, 2018
Trump often complains about “catch and release,” the practice of releasing children and people seeking asylum or refugee status into the United States while they await immigration hearings.
But these comments include a new twist. Trump says alternately that the United States has “thousands of judges” hearing immigration cases or is trying to hire thousands. The president also says “no other country in the world does it.”
Trump is not suggesting that U.S. immigration laws should be commended for giving safe harbor to the huddled masses, but rather that it’s “ridiculous” to offer refugees and children this recourse, since no other country does so.
Let’s dig in.
A record 67.75 million people worldwide were displaced from their homes as of the end of 2016, including 36.6 million people who were displaced from their homes but remained within their countries, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
The United States had 815,608 refugees and asylees from other countries at the end of 2016, according to UNHCR figures.
As we’ve reported, with some exceptions, catch and release in the United States applies only to people seeking asylum or refugee status and to unaccompanied children from non-contiguous