The Immigration System Is a Mess. Trump’s Policies Are Making It Worse.

The focus on deterring and detaining immigrants is undermining the safety of the nation.

It has been an eventful few weeks in President Trump’s ever-escalating crusade to restrict immigration.

On Aug. 12, his administration announced a rule change making it more difficult for poor immigrants to obtain green cards by giving officials more leeway in assessing who is likely to become a “public charge,” meaning someone who relies on public services. On Aug. 21, it introduced a new rule jettisoning the existing 20-day limit on holding migrant children in detention. The next day, the president reasserted his interest in abolishing birthright citizenship, the constitutional guarantee that anyone born in the United States is automatically a citizen.

It remains to be seen whether Mr. Trump’s summer maneuvers can survive the court challenges that so frequently attend his immigration agenda. On Monday, a group of 19 states and the District of Columbia filed suit against his family-detention rule. His “public charge” rule also drew a flurry of filings, including one by a coalition of 13 Democratic state attorneys general, led by Washington state, and one by a separate multistate bloc led by California. (California has thus far filed 13 lawsuits against the administration on immigration matters.)

There is also uncertainty as to whether Mr. Trump’s draconian immigration policies will turn out to be the political boon he and his supporters expect — hardly a given in light of recent surveysshowing that less than 40 percent of voters approve of his handling of the issue.

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