A headline from the San Francisco Examiner reads “Border loophole keeping undocumented in the US.” The article is referring to the BIA’s 2010 decision from Matter of Quilantan. There, the BIA affirmed its decision from 1980 in Matter of Areguillin, holding that when a vehicle approaches the border and the border patrol agent waves them through, they have made a lawful entry.
Dear copy editor – It isn’t a “loophole.” It’s the law. And that particular understanding of the law is over thirty years old. This is a tactic regularly used by anti-immigrant advocates like Kris Kobach. When preaching for closer adherence to the law, they say things like “illegal means illegal” and other nonsense. But when a particular aspect of the immigration law does not adhere to their radical ideology, they call it a loophole. How does Quilantan contravene the intent of the law? The BIA said in 1975 that when an alien is permitted to enter, it is presumed he “will have a status permitting him to remain.” When you call a law a “loophole,” you’re really saying “that’s the law but I don’t like it.” Well, tough. legal means legal, right?