Both The Atlantic and the Washington Post are now whining that the Trump administration is resorting to “cruelty” in order to deter illegal alien families from attempting to enter the U.S. unlawful. This is only the latest chapter in the “Trump hates immigrants” soap opera that the mainstream media has become.
What is the Trump administration doing that is so abominably heartless? It has proposed that when illegal alien families arrive at the border, adults should be kept in federal custody, while children are housed in Department of Health and Human Services facilities, or with American foster families.
To those unfamiliar with conditions along the southern border of the United States, that may seem unnecessary. But it’s not uncommon for alien smugglers and sex traffickers to pose as family units in order to access the United States. According to CNN, “Human trafficking has become a trade so lucrative and prevalent, that it knows no borders and links towns in central Mexico with cities like Atlanta and New York.”
There is a legitimate public safety reason for pursuing an updated family detention policy. Immigration fraud in support of wider criminal conspiracies is a daily occurrence at all U.S. ports of entry. So, keeping children with their alleged “parents” can often mean leaving them with criminal poseurs who wish to exploit them. A brief separation gives the Department of Homeland Security an opportunity to verify claims of parentage and enables law enforcement authorities to remove child victims from the clutches of smugglers and traffickers.
But it cannot be denied that placing illegal alien parents in federal lockups – rather than housing them at taxpayer expense in family detention centers that look like cushy college dorms – is likely to have a deterrent effect. And that’s what has provoked both The Atlantic and the Post into foaming fits of invective.
According to The Atlantic, “The United States has long relied on deterrence policy as a way of dissuading migrants from entering the country illegally. This has been true under Democratic and Republican administrations alike.” The Post makes similar arguments.
But The Atlantic, and the Post, have gotten it exactly wrong. Deterrence isn’t a policy. It is the natural effect of vigorous adherence to the rule of law. Currently, we don’t have deterrence because too many Democratic and Republican administrations have played fast and loose with the requirements of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The net result has always been a clear message to would-be illegal aliens that there are no consequences for violating our immigration laws.
Those days are over. When citizens elected Donald Trump, they sent a clear message to Washington that they no longer want criminals and illegal aliens running America’s borders. President Trump paid attention. Far from being cruel, the proposed family detention policy actually brings us one step closer to ensuring that alien smugglers and child sex traffickers don’t permanently separate would-be immigrant families. And it does so by putting the safety and security needs of Americans first.