A new ProPublica feature story by Dara Lind offers a disturbing look at the MPP program near its one year anniversary, spotlighting how the day-to-day implementation empowers untrained and callous CBP agents to separate families and make life and death decisions in an instant. It also reveals who MPP fits into the larger strategy of the Trump administration to virtually end access to asylum. For anyone who thinks that family separation is a dark chapter of the Trump presidency that has now mercifully concluded, Lind’s reporting shows how MPP and other programs help ensure it continues.
Below are three key points that come through in the must-read feature:
- Heartlessness of Untrained CBP Agents: As the subhead of the article notes, “Under Trump, Border Patrol agents wield nearly unchecked power over the fate of migrants — and their seemingly random decisions can cleave families apart.”
- A Cruel and Kafka-esque Process Facing Asylum Seekers: Lind’s story spotlights, through the lens of one family, the cruelty and chaos that awaits asylum seekers, writing how: “Asylum-seekers are sent away from the U.S. as quickly as possible. Under a series of new programs, they can be sent to wait in Mexico, rapidly deported to their home country or sent to Guatemala to seek asylum there instead. The results are what a lawsuit filed in December against the rapid-deportation programs calls ‘legal black holes,’ where Border Patrol agents have almost complete discretion to decide who goes where.”
- The Heroic Strength of Affected Families and Their Lawyers and Advocates: The family featured in the story – Mirza, David, Lia, and Sebastian – embody the courage and strength of thousands of other families caught up in the chaos and cruelty of MPP and other Trump policies. And their attorney, El Paso-based lawyer Taylor Levy, similarly embodies the tireless work and efforts of so many other attorneys and advocates who are fighting on behalf of those affected and traumatized.
Read the full piece by Dara Lind at ProPublica: “Women to One Side, Men to the Other”: How the Border Patrol’s New Powers and Old Carelessness Separated a Family”