Trump Administration Threatens Jail and Separating Children From Parents for Those Who Illegally Cross Southwest Border
Following the Trump Administration's announcement that it would be dramatically stepping up prosecutions of those who illegally cross the Southwest border and enforcing "zero tolerance" to deter further migration with the threat of jail sentences and separating families, Partner Seth M.M. Stodder shared his insight with The New York Times. Mr. Stodder was an assistant secretary of Homeland Security during the Obama Administration and also served as policy director for Customs and Border Protection during the Bush Administration.
The administration has stated that this policy is necessary due to the "massive influx of illegal aliens" crossing the border, however, Border Patrol data shows that the overall flow of undocumented immigrants in 2017 remains low compared to previous years.
Agreeing with the historic lows of undocumented flow and highlighting the protection that should be afforded asylum seekers under U.S. and international law, Mr. Stodder said that overloaded immigration courts do not have the ability to help the families that are being separated.
Although officials have so far insisted that no such policy is in place, the Department of Health and Human Services refugee office has released information that about 700 children—including 100 children four years old and younger—have been separated from their parents since October 2017.
Mr. Stodder added, "Brutally separating young children from their parents is not a response worthy of a great and humane nation."