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Previewing the Week on Immigration: Chaos, Failure and Abhorrent Detention Conditions As Humanitarian Crisis Grows

 

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As Trump appoints former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli as Acting Director of USCIS (without Senate confirmation) and one day before Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan is set to participate in a Senate Judiciary hearing on Trump’s approach to immigration and border management issues, immigration experts and advocates gathered to discuss the humanitarian crisis created by the failing and inhumane policies of Trump and his administration. These policies continue exacerbating the problem while failing to address the underlying causes. Meanwhile, the administration is requesting more money for their cruelty while failing to address the abhorrent conditions of migrant detention centers.

With the cruelty and failure of the Trump approach on the U.S. side of the border, people keep coming in greater numbers, so the Trump administration has turned to blaming Mexico to get them to address the challenge, ultimately making for more cruelty, danger and failure.

Below are quotes from today’s speakers:

Ur Jaddou, Director, DHS Watch and former USCIS Chief Counsel, said “When Trump came into office, he inherited the lowest number of border apprehensions in 46 years. Fast forward just two years later under Trump administration policy and those numbers are spiking. It’s clear now more than ever that they have, at minimum, done nothing to address the refugee crisis. For awhile now, Trump has been blaming others for his policy failures. The latest is Mexico, and before that it was his staff, many of whom have been forced out. In threatening an across-the-board tariff on all Mexican products, the President was absurdly threatening a tax on Americans to get Mexico to stop Central Americans from coming to our border.  And now we have an agreement with more failed policy, but it appears much of the agreement actually occurred months ago. We also have reports that document the cruelty of the Trump administration’s policy. In just the last two weeks, the DHS inspector general released a detailed report of dangerous overcrowding in a border facility, and another detailing inadequate medical care, inadequate food supply, and over-restrictive segregation in various ICE facilities. Worse yet, a review of two years of Trump administration policy shows that inflicting harm on children was either a central policy goal or collateral damage, with little to no regard to mitigating the harm. The record is clear, it’s time to course correct with smart, effective, and humane solutions.”

Kerri Talbot, Director of Federal Advocacy of the Immigration Hub, said “Tomorrow, the Senate Judiciary Committee will question the administration’s border policy and their focus on passing Senator Lindsey Graham’s bill which would erect roadblocks for unaccompanied children and asylum seekers. This bill takes us back to the days when little children were arriving to the U.S. by themselves without protections and they were returned quickly to Mexico without adequate due process. The Graham bill would also allow the Administration to jail kids for long periods of time. These proposals would undermine the care of children in the care of DHS. Instead of this approach which would harm children, Congress should pass the Central American Reform and Enforcement Act which would provide aid to Central America to address the root causes of migration and ensure the efficient and fair processing of asylum seekers.”

Michelle Brané, Director, Migrant Rights and Justice, Women’s Refugee Commission, said, “While what we are witnessing at the border is abhorrent, it should surprise no one at this point. For more than two years now, this administration has waged a carefully crafted campaign designed to terrorize families seeking safety at our border. This is as deliberate as it is heartless. However, there are solutions. We can invest in addressing the root cause, expand processing, and use alternatives to detention that works. Children are dying because of this administration’s intentional mismanagement and until we embrace solutions that recognize human rights, we will see this deadly trend continue.”

Rev. Jeania Ree V. Moore Director of Civil and Human Rights, Gen. Brd. of Church and Society, The United Methodist Church, said, “As a faith leader, I believe that our moral standing as a society can be measured by our actions toward those most vulnerable among us. Migrants, children, and people seeking aid at our borders should be welcomed and received with compassion, not incarcerated and dehumanized. Too often, compassion is discussed as if it is optional. That is wrong – as we are reminded in Micah 6:8, it is required to respect and affirm other people’s humanity, as well as to secure our own.”

Frank Sharry, Executive Director, America’s Voice, said, “The Trump administration has failed and will continue to fail because it fundamentally misreads what is happening. The administration views this as an ‘illegal immigration crisis,’ but we are not dealing with the reality of 15 years ago — mostly Mexican men seeking to avoid detection at the border in order to enter the labor market.  We’re dealing with families fleeing violence and drought in Central America who turn themselves into border authorities and apply for asylum. They are escaping the burning house that is the Northern Triangle of Central America. This is a refugee crisis. And a deterrence-only approach at the border is not going to work because it doesn’t respond to the nature of the challenge. The Democrats in Congress are proposing to do so: 1) fair and efficient processing of asylum applications buttressed by case management, legal representation and compliance with final decisions; 2) options for protection and resettlement away from the U.S.-Mexico border and in the region; and 3) investments in Central American initiatives that improve the conditions that currently are compelling families to flee. Instead of managing the regional refugee crisis competently, the Trump administration is fueling a humanitarian crisis at the border. There’s a desperate need for a pragmatic, solutions-oriented strategy. Unfortunately, the failing and flailing strategy of this administration is doomed to make a difficult situation worse.”