President Trump is doubling down on his zero-tolerance policy
regarding the prosecution of adult illegal immigrants caught crossing our border and the government’s taking of temporary custody of children accompanying them.
The Department of Health and Human Services has reportedly taken custody of about 250 children per day in recent weeks, affecting about 11,500 children so far. President Trump is proceeding in the face of criticism by some Republicans as well as Democrats. Trump supporters such as his former adviser Anthony Scaramucci and the Rev. Franklin Graham have also been critical. Former First Lady Laura Bush called the zero-tolerance policy resulting in the separation of children from their parents “cruel” and “immoral” and wrote that “it breaks my heart.” United Nations Secretary General António Guterres' office issued a statement declaring, “Children must not be traumatized by being separated from their parents.”
The children’s plight is being turned into crass political theater by the anti-Trump crowd. Hillary Clinton is shamelessly using the crisis to raise funds. She wrote in her fund-raising letter, “What’s happening to families at the border right now is horrific.” Back in 2014, however, she had no trouble declaring, "Just because your child gets across the border that doesn't mean your child gets to stay."
President Trump has been consistent on the issue of enforcing the nation’s immigration laws — before, during, and after the 2016 presidential election campaign. “The United States will not be a migrant camp,” President Trump said on Monday. “Not on my watch.”
Indeed, the president’s critics overlook the fact that the current state of immigration law in the United States, as embodied in the relevant legislation and judicial decisions, has led to the current crisis. Certain categories of illegal immigrants caught crossing the border receive special protections under the law, including children or teenagers traveling alone from Central America, or traveling together with their families, as well as asylum seekers. These protections have turned into loopholes, leading to “catch and release” policies that have acted as a “pull factor” for increased future illegal immigration.
Legitimate asylum seekers fleeing persecution by persons acting on behalf of their home country’s government and who enter the United States through one of the official ports of entry are not separated from their children upon entry. The current crisis causing all the emotion-laden headlines involves children traveling with adults who claim to be their parents and who have entered the country illegally.
A Vox article published last April explains the legal restrictions on the ability to keep children under custody with their purported parents who are being prosecuted for illegally entering the United States: “Ever since the 1990s, the federal government’s use of immigration detention on children and families has been overseen by the federal courts (thanks to a settlement called the ‘Flores settlement’), with strict restrictions that keep most detention facilities and jails from being used to house families.” The federal courts have ruled that “families couldn’t be kept in detention for longer than 20 days.”
Under these circumstances, the Trump administration is facing a dilemma. It can continue the “catch and release” policies of the Obama administration, which will result in more mass migration of adult illegal aliens into the country with children in tow. It can detain the families intact for up to 20 days, after which it must release them with the hope that the adults will return for their court dates months or even years later. Finally, it can choose its present course of incarcerating the adults for illegally entering the country pending their court hearing, while providing government care for the children in the interim. The best option would be to simply place the entire family immediately on a plane headed back to their home country, but such instant deportation would be vulnerable to legal challenge on such grounds as failure to afford them a reasonable opportunity to request asylum.
Congress, with the help of the courts, has created this mess by allowing loopholes in the law that illegal aliens have been exploiting for too long.
Asylum is being abused by migrants who are not escaping government persecution, but rather leaving their home countries to improve their economic situation or to escape gang or domestic violence. Adults trying to enter the United States illegally who use children (whether theirs or not) as their admission tickets are subjecting the children to the harmful consequences of their own knowing malfeasance. They have banked on continued laxity of law enforcement due to restrictions on detention of families, and they have taken advantage of past administrations’ misplaced compassion. These adults are the ones responsible for risking the well-being of children they have dragged with them, not President Trump, who is simply trying to discharge his constitutional duty to “take care that the laws are carried out faithfully.”
Joseph A. Klein is a featured author for FrontPage Magazine and the United Nations correspondent for Canada Free Press. He has also authored the books "Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom" and "Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations & Radical Islam." Klein, a Harvard Law school alumnus and practicing attorney, has been a guest on many radio shows as a commentator and has appeared on several TV shows including "Fox & Friends." For more of this reports — Click Here Now.
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