The mainstream media has nearly placed all blame on President Trump and his administration over reports that allege that its “zero tolerance” policy resulted in 545 migrant children not being able to reunite with their parents—a narrative that unfairly condemns the administration and fails to factor in the roles migrant parents and human smugglers have played in this situation.
In 2018, the Trump administration implemented the so-called “zero tolerance” policy at the southern border in an effort to deter illegal immigration and halt the endangerment of children who were being used by adults to gain entry to the country. The policy criminally prosecuted all migrants who entered into the country illegally. Prior to the Trump administration, most administrations did not criminally prosecute first-time illegal entrants. Because migrant children cannot be held in federal custody with adult migrants and detention of family units was limited to 20 days by a federal judge, there were only two bad options available: Either allow the flagrant abuse of our laws to continue, or separate children from adults. The policy was eventually scrapped a few months later.
Even though the “zero tolerance” policy has not been in effect in some two years, open borders lawyers and the mainstream media have charged the Trump administration with being responsible for 545 migrant children still not being able to find their parents. But is this actually the case? Not really.
The role of migrant parents in this situation has not been brought to light—and it should. According to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Press Secretary Chase Jennings, “Out of the parents of 485 children whom Plaintiffs’ counsel has been able to contact, they’ve yet to identify a single family that wants their child reunited with them in their country of origin.” This likely suggests that the parents of these migrant children willingly separated from their child at the southern border in order for their child to obtain a better life in the United States. A 2019 Los Angeles Times piece further proves this theory where it reveals that “migrant parents stranded on [the]border send kids across alone.” Yet, there remains little to no blame on the parents for their decision making.
Additionally, the recent reports from the open borders lawyers and mainstream media fail to consider the responsibility that human smugglers play in this situation. Many migrant children are often sent to the U.S. border with human smugglers for a premium price. Once arrived at the border, the traffickers leave the children to be apprehended by immigration authorities—who typically quickly release children into the interior of the country due to laws that limit the amount of time unaccompanied minors can be detained. These smugglers may also pose falsely as the guardian of the child to gain easier access into the country. Regardless of what option the human trafficker may pursue, it still means that there is virtually little chance a migrant child can be reunited with a parent since these individuals aren’t their parents. Despite these known practices, human smugglers have not received any blame in this situation.
While it may be fair to challenge the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, it is simply unfair to place full blame on the administration. The roles of migrant parents and human smugglers undoubtedly contributed to the separation of children at the southern border and both groups should be held just as accountable. Likewise, there is significant blame to be laid at doors of Congress, which refuses to close legal loopholes that encourage the migration of unaccompanied minors, and activist judges who have imposed unreasonable limits on detention of family units.
The distorted narrative by these groups of lawyers and mainstream media outlets reveal a growing penchant for advocacy over objective facts and reporting—a disturbing trend that appears to not be ending any time soon.