America's Voice En Español »
For the past several weeks, the Trump Administration has been engaged in a public relations strategy to play up the chaos and crisis at the border, but the strategies they are actually pursuing are making things worse. The fact is that the Trump Administration has more money and manpower than ever before for the border, while the flow of people crossing the border, despite recent spikes, remains below historic averages. Yet the Administration is unable to address the actual problems the country is facing and it increasingly looks like they are unwilling to address the problems either.
“The Administration wants a blank check from the Congress to address the border, but their incompetence and their laserlike focus on the wrong strategies — especially the President’s border wall — are just exacerbating problems and fomenting chaos,” said Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of America’s Voice.
“Appropriations season is coming, the 2020 presidential election is around the corner, and the Trump administration needs to further their #1 political narrative of chaos and crisis at the border in order to give Republican Members of Congress cover for standing with the President on his bogus emergency declaration and justify their inhumane and extreme policies. The administration is purposely letting the situation at the border get worse; they know their policies are not working, and they’re ok with it because it helps them further a narrative of crisis and chaos that they use to justify their anti-immigrant policies, and which they believe is politically beneficial for them. By laser focusing on an unnecessary and useless wall, by enacting cruel “deterrence” policies like separating and jailing families and children seeking asylum, mass incarceration and border militarization policies the administration has exacerbated the problem, caused long term damage and suffering to families coming to our border, and ignored strategies that would actually address our national security,” Tobar continued.
This week, the true costs of the President’s border wall emergency are coming under sharp criticism and new memos obtained by the Los Angeles Times show the head of the U.S. Marine Corps says border deployments and diverted military funding present “unacceptable risk to Marine Corps combat readiness and solvency.”
Meanwhile, all of the policies Secretary Nielsen and President Trump have implemented to deter asylum-seekers from making the journey from Central America to the U.S. border are not working.
“The Trump Administration has never approached this as a regional refugees crisis, so the steps they have taken have not been the right ones,” Tobar said. “They thought taking children from their parents would stop the flow and that limiting the number of people allowed to petition for asylum at the border would frustrate Central Americans and drive them to return home to the chaos and violence of the Northern Triangle. Now Trump and Nielsen are trying this ‘return to Mexico’ strategy but that has been a humanitarian disaster and an unmanageable legal fiasco, not to mention that it is also probably a violation of U.S. and international law. Trump and his lieutenants have ideological blinders on and their incompetence and their lack of will to actually take steps to address the refugee flow are showing.”
Under Trump, the U.S. has pulled back from regional cooperation with Latin America and international partners while ending programs that would have allowed unaccompanied minors to claim asylum before leaving Central America. Border stations designed to hold single men who would be quickly repatriated to Mexico are not up to the task of processing children and families seeking asylum — who for the most part are being found to have claims to asylum legitimate enough to warrant additional adjudication. But the U.S. is also not taking steps to expedite those adjudications or implement proven alternatives to detention that would provide relief to overcrowded border detention facilities.
“All of this reflects incompetence and a clear shameful unwillingness to problem solve on the part of Secretary Nielsen and the Trump Administration,” Tobar said. “And there is an added layer of ghoulishness and Big Brother when you realize the U.S. is tracking journalists covering the stories and advocates attempting to aid migrants caught in this humanitarian crisis. Our government is even tracking the menstrual cycles of young girls but still has no plan and no strategy to reunite children with their families because the government failed to plan for the disaster the Trump border policies created.”
Tobar concluded: “The American people want a competent government implementing policies to alleviate and manage a refugee crisis and the Trump team is not up to the task and not interested in genuinely relieving the chaos. Trump and Nielsen want unlimited money for the border and they want every newspaper running alarming headlines about immigrants, all so they can boost the ‘invasion’ narrative at the heart of the Trump 2020 reelection strategy.”