As White House Advances More Cruel and Doomed-to-Fail Policies, Smart and Effective Solutions Ignored
The latest DHS monthly numbers are in. They continue to be in the 100,000 range, the highest monthly point since 2007. Under Trump, CBP counts have doubled in the past year.
A sane administration would diagnose the challenge, review available options, and put in place a broad set of elements aimed at managing the spike in arrivals and, over time, reducing the flow. This is not a sane administration. The Trump White House has used one strategy and one strategy only — cruelty — and it has resulted in failure and chaos. As a result, Trump blames the Democrats, the Congress, the courts, the migrants and refugees, the source countries, and the main transit country, Mexico.
In fact, Trump’s failure to understand the nature of this crisis — a refugee crisis caused by violence in Central America and a humanitarian crisis at the border caused by Trump’s cruel, chaotic and failed strategy — has led the administration to make a difficult situation worse.
- A program to give Central Americans the chance to apply for refugee protection and resettlement in the region? Eliminated by this administration.
- What about using the established refugee resettlement program to ensure the orderly screening and acceptance of those who qualify? Decimated by this administration.
- What about ramping up case management and Alternatives to Detention programs that have compliance rates of over 95%? Ended by this administration.
- Aid to Central American countries to reduce the causes for out-migration? Eliminated by this administration.
- The deployment and expansion of trained asylum officers and independent Immigration Judges? Forget about it, they’re too soft, says this administration.
- Compelling those seeking asylum to come to ports of entry to facilitate a more orderly process? Make them remain in Mexico for weeks under dangerous conditions, leading more to cross at remote places between ports of entry and give themselves in, says this administration.
- Work with both parties in Congress to fashion a workable set of solutions? This administration shuts down the government for 35 days to fight for a wall that would do nothing to deal with this crisis.
Here’s a chart that captures the fact that Trump’s moves have failed to bring down the numbers.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
Trump and his administration blame everyone but themselves for their evident failure.
The reason their strategy will continue to fail is that they misread the nature of the crisis. This is a refugee crisis emanating from the northern triangle countries of Central America, and a humanitarian crisis at our border due to Trump’s chaotic and cruel strategy.
The bottom line is this: Central American families fleeing for their lives are not going to stay in a burning house just because Trump is cruel. This is a classic refugee crisis, and over the past 70 years the international community, with American leadership, has developed multifaceted strategies that work. To wit:
A sane administration would flood the zone with immigration judges, asylum officers and legal representatives to ensure that life-and-death decisions regarding refugee and protection claims are made in a fair, final and timely fashion.
A sane administration would work with border communities and NGOs to develop humane temporary housing, health screening and rapid processing to ensure that the family arrivals are managed in an orderly and decent fashion.
A sane administration would work with regional allies and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to set up an internationalized refugee protection and resettlement programs in the region — away from the U.S. – Mexico border. This would enable those seeking safety to be screened, accepted by resettlement countries (the U.S. and others) and resettled in an orderly fashion. Those who aren’t eligible as refugees can be provided safe haven in the region or returned to their home countries if safe to do so.
A sane administration would mount a serious effort to work with private and public actors in the source countries to reduce, over time, the causes of out-migration. Programs that promote human rights and the rule of law, and operate with transparency and involve civil society can reduce gang and gender violence, corruption, law enforcement impunity and the effects of climate change.
The problem is that we do not have a sane administration. Nor do we have an administration with a workable approach. For that, we will need new leadership, a new diagnosis of the challenge, and a new strategy. Until we do, expect the monthly numbers to stay high, the Trump administration to blame everyone but themselves, and the cruelty, chaos and dangerous rhetoric to get worse.