Trump’s Immigration Policy Is Designed to Stoke Crisis
Without a perceived crisis at the border, there’s no pretext for ICE raids, family separation, and concentration camps
We know this because the architects of this system have been telling us for the better part of two decades. As far back as 2003, President George W. Bush’s attorney general, John Ashcraft, advocated for immigrant detention in order to send “a message of deterrence to other Central American individuals who may be considering immigration.” In 2015, the Obama administration used the same deterrence argument to justify the detention of migrant children.
When current government officials say that child separation is designed, in part, to disincentivize mothers from migrating with their children, they are being forthright. When then Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said in 2017 that the “big name of the game is deterrence,” he was being sincere. More recently, even as interim DHS chief Kevin McAleenan told NBC News that family separation was “not worth it,” top administration officials expressed a preference for continuing family separation under the guise of “binary choice.”
There is a suite of policies — releasing migrants under community supervision, mandating regular, mandatory check-ins, and even some forms of electronic monitoring — that the US government could implement which would treat migrants and asylum seekers humanely. These measures would not only be more effective in implementing U.S. law, they would also fulfill obligations under international law. But these policies are incompatible with the ideology of white nationalism — a guiding principle in the White House — or the preferences of GOP voters, a majority of whom support harsh treatment of migrant children.
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