Why Family Separation Is The Only Humane Border Policy Possible Right Now

Why Family Separation Is The Only Humane Border Policy Possible Right Now

Those on the Left and in the media are advocating for a policy that would hurt the very kids they claim to care about. This is disgusting, and needs to be called out.
Willis Krumholz and Andrew Ratelle
By

In June, MSNBC television personality Donny Deutsch openly attacked the half of voting America that supports the president: “We can no longer say Trump’s the bad guy…If you vote for Trump, you’re the bad guy…If you vote for Trump, you are ripping children from parents’ arms…If you vote for Trump, then you, the voter – you, not Donald Trump – are standing at the border like Nazis.”

Deutsch’s resort to such distasteful rhetoric is an act of desperation disguised as principled moralizing. Similarly, Rep. Maxine Waters recently called on crowds of people to physically harass Trump administration officials in public spaces like gas stations or restaurants, to send the message that the officials and their families aren’t welcome “anymore, anywhere.”

These are not the tactics of persons with well-formed moral consciences. As the country continues to witness the slow-motion collapse of the Left-weaponized Russia collusion narrative, the media-political complex, heading into the midterms, has found itself in desperate need of a new handful of talking points.

The family separation crisis going on at the border, although taken up with all the self-righteousness we’ve come to expect from “Morning Joe,” is far more complex and sensitive an issue than the media-political complex imagines. If the Left gets its way, poor migrant children will suffer.

Separating Families to Stop Commodifying Children

Forget, for a second, the fact that family separations happened during the Obama administration and the Left didn’t bat an eye. There’s a far better, and more important, argument that every American needs to hear.

The pre-Trump administration policy for addressing adults with children at the border was terrible. It gave anyone who brought kids with them on the long trip from Central America a de-facto ticket into America. That’s because of the difference between the 20-day limit on holding children, and the much longer time it takes to process an asylum claim.

Every adult crossing the border illegally—meaning not entering the United States through a port of entry—is subject to being charged for illegal crossing and quick deportation unless they claim asylum. Claiming asylum is a “defense” to the charge of illegal crossing, and it has been increasingly frivolously claimed.

Receiving asylum means the government believes you are being religiously or politically persecuted in your home country, and that your very life is at stake unless you stay in America. The standard is high for receiving asylum, and our government takes these claims very seriously. To take these claims seriously and check their validity can take several months.

When an adult without children claims asylum after being caught crossing the border illegally, that adult is held for months until the asylum claim is processed. But prior to the Trump administration, if you came across the border with kids, and the government thought you were supposed to be with the kids in question, you were allowed into America in no longer than 20 days with an ankle monitor while your asylum claim processed. Many of those ankle monitors were then cut.

Unsurprisingly, this led to bad people using kids—many times not their own—as tickets into the United States. And it led to more kids making the dangerous journey from Central America to the southern border of the United States, a journey where the physical and sexual assault of children and women is the norm.

Rich Lowry at National Review dug up a New York Times article from only months ago that reported on people bringing their children with them to increase their chances of getting into America. The same article said there was a growing problem of people “posing falsely with children who are not their own.” AZcentral (affiliated with USA Today) says it is “common to have parents entrust their children to a smuggler as a favor or for profit.”

Turning a Blind Eye to Human Cargo

These risks are nothing new. But the apparent amnesia shown by publications like The Washinton Post and Mother Jones, which need little excuse to excoriate the current president for almost any alleged moral infraction, is disturbing. To their credit, both publications saw fit to report on the federal government’s mishandling of some 70,000 unaccompanied minors at the U.S.-Mexico border prior to Trump’s election, to comparatively little media fanfare. But these facts were somehow forgotten when it came time to illustrate the broader context of the current crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Rape and sexual assault follow the tens of thousands of migrants like a shadow that’s only been getting longer as time goes on. Back in 2010, Amnesty International reported that some 60 percent of migrant women and girls from Central America suffered some form of sexual violence by the time they reached southern Mexico. In 2014, that number rose to 80 percent.

We should want as few women and girls as possible to make this terrible journey. Also, when a huge influx of unaccompanied children shows up at the southern border, there is no way for our government to keep track of them all or ensure their safety. A 2016 Senate report found that the Obama administration placed unaccompanied minors with human traffickers after those minors had crossed over into the relative safety promised in America.

While these confirmed cases of the federal government’s unintentional aid to human traffickers numbered only a few dozen among the tens of thousands of children that crossed the border between 2013 and 2015, they tell only a fraction of a much bigger story. The same report showed that an already overwhelmed Department of Health and Human Services could only follow up with 5 percent of those tens of thousands of children. This leaves a massive blind spot.

One trafficked child is too many. But when dozens within a sample size that leaves 95 percent of minors unaccounted for are trafficked, this creates a risk that is infinitely higher than anyone who purports to stand for children and families should be able to endure. Again, we shouldn’t through lax border enforcement encourage children to make this journey.

Children accompanied by adults are at high risk of being trafficked too. Corresponding with the Obama administration’s much more lenient “catch and release” border policy, the United States saw an unprecedented increase in children at its southwestern border. During that time, the amount of girls among those children rose 77 percent.

Corresponding to higher numbers of child migrants was a pattern of ever-decreasing scrutiny by the Obama administration. This created a veritable trafficker’s playground. Tens of thousands of women and girls, many already bearing indicators of being trafficked, along with entire populations of functionally orphaned children, make for a group of at-risk individuals that could fill a small city. A permissive attitude toward security and only 20 days to root out bad actors is the last thing these kids need, and the one thing potential slave traders would prefer.

No Alternative to Separation Without Congress

That 20-day limit on holding children—known as the Flores settlement—creates such bad incentives that even the Obama administration in 2014 sought to treat all adults equally regardless of whether they brought children, by detaining children accompanied by adults for more than 20 days.

But after the Obama administration lost to illegal immigration advocates suing in the Ninth Circuit, unless Congress acts the Trump administration has only two options to remove the bad incentive that hurts kids: (1) Treat all adults equally by holding all adults the same period of time if they file asylum, and separate the adults from any accompanying children after 20 days, or (2) don’t detain anyone caught illegally crossing who files an asylum claim, children or no children.

Without an act of Congress, only one of these options is realistic. But Democrats’ current proposals would either perpetually enshrine the commodification of Central American children into law by granting catch-and-release to people with children, or would go for option two above and effectively open the southern border to anyone.

These Democratic proposals would lead to even more people making the dangerous trip to America from Central America. That’s not compassion.

What should be done? Trump’s recent executive order attempts to allow children to be held for longer than 20 days with their parents while an asylum claim is processed, but this has little chance of holding up in court. Aready as a result of the Left’s spasms, the pre-Trump administration status quo, terrible as it was, is again taking hold.

According to The Wall Street Journal,  “Kevin McAleenan, the Customs and Border Protection commissioner, said Monday that he directed Border Patrol agents to stop handing parents over to federal prosecutors shortly after President Trump signed an executive order last week ending the administration’s policy of separating families.” Translation: kids are once again the currency to enter America.

In other words, those on the Left and in the media are advocating for a policy that would hurt the very kids that they claim to care about. This is disgusting, and they need to be called out.

Democrats Are On the Losing Side of This Issue

The White House and Republican politicians should go to the American people and explain why anything but congressional action or temporary family separation is the most inhumane thing possible. Repeat this: “We have to separate adults from children because there is a 20-day limit on holding kids. If we want to not reward parents for bringing their kids on a dangerous journey where the sexual assault and exploitation of children is the norm, then we need to treat all adults equally whether they bring kids or not. That means holding the adults longer than we can hold the kids, only if the adults cross illegally and then file for asylum, unless Congress acts.”

Why do you want to continue the system that rewards people for bringing kids on a trip where little girls are raped?

When you get pushback, simply ask Chris Cuomo, Jake Tapper, and Chuck Todd: “Why do you want to continue the system that rewards people for bringing kids on a trip where little girls are raped?” Ask that over and over and over again. You are right, and they are wrong.

Stop pretending like Americans don’t have President Trump’s back. Three-fourths of American voters support tough border security and immediate deportation. Since this controversy, Trump’s approval ratings have risen. Democrats’ poll numbers across the board are down, and more Americans blame the parents for bringing their children illegally across the border for the crisis than they do President Trump.

These numbers exist in a world where Americans are seeing through the Democrats’ horse manure. Can you imagine if the full truth came out, and people realized that what Democrats are proposing will hurt countless poor children and women? The Left should be, needs to be, and can be held to account for this. And countless children will be better off for it.

Willis L. Krumholz is a fellow at Defense Priorities. He holds a JD and MBA degree from the University of St. Thomas, and works in the financial services industry. Andrew Ratelle is a Twin Cities-based attorney specializing in business litigation, bankruptcy, and international law. The views expressed are those of the author only.

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