Trump’s characteristic mode of expression is to state something that gets at a truth and connects with his supporters but to say it so simplistically or sloppily that it is easily misunderstood or simply wrong. His comments pouring scorn on immigration judges fall into this category. If Congress is willing to find more immigration judges, it’d be crazy to say “no,” since we desperately need to work through the huge backlog of asylum cases. But Trump is right that we should (at least in many more cases) be simply turning around migrants and returning them.
One reason we don’t is that so many claim asylum and pass their initial “credible fear” interviews. About 90 percent pass these interviews, even though less than 20 percent ultimately get asylum. Clearly, we should be tightening up on the front end before a migrant making a dubious claim enters into a years-long legal process. The attorney general’s new guidance a few weeks ago will help, but there’s a limit to what the executive can do in his area, too, without Congress acting. Andrew Arthur of CIS has good background on all this.