The Current Immigration Policy: A Few Words

And now Jags will prosecute immigrants…

It was horrific that President Trump implemented a program to remove children from immigrant families and from families seeking asylum. Rightfully, US citizens have been appalled. The latest news from Trump’s government modifies this program to an even greater level of horror.

Recently, the Department of Justice requested active duty Judge Advocate Generals (JAGs) to serve for six months in order to prosecute migrants.[1] The request was approved and JAGs will be sent to six cities in New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas to prosecute anyone considered to be crossing illegally under the zero-tolerance policies set up by Trump and Attorney General Sessions. What does this mean? On the most basic level, it means that people who try to enter the country without prior documentation will be put on trial and prosecuted by lawyers serving in the military. Active-duty military lawyers do not have the option of refusing to prosecute people (they are active duty, after all).

We have already seen the inhumane separation of children (including babies and toddlers) from their parents even when those parents were seeking asylum. Just to be clear, asylum is not something a family can apply for in advance. However, under the zero-tolerance policy, they are being prosecuted for illegal entry.

Who is seeking asylum?  In thousands of cases, asylum-seekers are parents with children who cannot go back to the country they left. The majority of them flee from Central and South American countries, especially Guatemala, El Salvador, Venezuela, and Honduras, due to violence.  In El Salvador, death rates due to violence are higher than in every country except Syria.[2] Honduras and Venezuela rank right behind El Salvador.

Sessions’ recent decree, backed by Trump, limits the reasons people can use in requesting asylum. Now it doesn’t count if women run away from gangs or domestic violence. Note:  it is not illegal to be an asylum-seeker — or rather it was not until Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump.  But now what Sessions called “private violence” and gang violence are no longer reasons accepted for asylum. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, murder due to gangs and private violence put El Salvador as second, Honduras as third, and Venezuela as fourth place in global death statistics. Guatemala ranks eleventh.

Is this policy specifically directed at Latinos?  Is this another example of racism in US Federal Officials?

Think about running away from murdering, kidnapping, and assorted violence, making a long difficult journey to the US border, only to be arrested as an illegal immigrant. And then to have your children taken away!  Think about being deported back to the same violent place you fled without your children!

Now shift your thinking to Africa. Consider Boko Haram and the hundreds of  girls and young women they kidnapped. Consider Boko Haram stealing children to turn them into soldiers, “wives,” and slaves. Perhaps you remember the reports of hundreds of under-aged females stolen from their parents and missing were big on US news for a while. How is it wrong in Nigeria but okay in US?

And now POTUS has requested that military personnel try the people who come to the border without immigration papers. Because of this program, the military will function in a civilian court. That smears the boundaries between civilian and military and feels a bit too close to military justice and military control.

Rather than make the situation better with the latest executive order, Trump has made it worse.  People are going to be housed on military bases in tent cities. Think about living in a tent in Texas or Arizona where the temperatures easily range over 100 degrees.  This is already happening: in addition to cages in re-purposed stores, we already have children living by themselves in tent cities. Many children who were removed from their parents — causing long-term terrible and frightening consequences — are now “housed” in what the government calls “temporary juvenile facilities” in tents. What if they have to live there for a month? What if they are temporarily housed there for three years? What if they never get back with their parents?

If the humanitarian aspects don’t hit you in the heart, consider the monetary price.  “According to ICE’s FY 2018 budget, on average it costs $133.99 a day to maintain one adult detention bed.”[3]  The price rises to $139.40 for a child detained in a tent city. So, let’s do some math. If 2,000 children were heartlessly removed from their parents for 44 days (the reputed average), the cost for one day would be $278,800.00. For one day. Setting aside the indeterminable, indescribable, and unwarranted emotional and psychological consequences, the price tag to the budget would be $12,267,200.00.  More than twelve million dollars. However, “the DHS projects there will be an average of 51,379 people held in immigration detention centers each day in fiscal 2018.” [4]

Thus, not only has the current administration bankrupted our humanitarian bank accounts, but it will also bankrupt the literal ones.

 

—- Sources —

[1] Maddow, Rachel. “The Rachel Maddow Show” MSNBC aired June 20, 2018.

[2] Kight, Stef W. and Dave Lawler. “Why Central Americans flee to the U.S. despite “zero tolerance” Axios (posted 6/21/2018) https://www.axios.com/why-are-immigrants-coming-to-us-with-trump-zero-tolerance-ea01cb86-c4c0-4d8d-92d1-ae5cd6af6ec6.html (retrieved 6/22/2018)

[3] Urbi, Jaden. “This is how much it costs to detain an immigrant in the US” CNBC posted June 20, 2018 (2018) https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/20/cost-us-immigrant-detention-trump-zero-tolerance-tents-cages.html (retrieved 6/23/2018)

[4] Urbi, Jaden. “This is how much it costs to detain an immigrant in the US” CNBC posted June 20, 2018 (2018) https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/20/cost-us-immigrant-detention-trump-zero-tolerance-tents-cages.html (retrieved 6/23/2018)

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About Lillith ThreeFeathers

Lillith ThreeFeathers is a shamanic healer, author, medium, and priestess.
This entry was posted in Media Thoughts, Politics, Society and Civilization and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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