OPINION: An Immigration Imbroglio

Isaac Martin, Contributor

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The child separation brouhaha traces back to April when Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the “Zero Tolerance” policy, increasing the levels of prosecution on illegal immigrants. Essentially, the policy says that the Department of Justice will prosecute as many illegal crossings as possible. As a result, the number of arrests increased, but since children can only be detained in adult centers temporarily, they had to be separated. An increased number of border arrests therefore increased the  number of children separated. However, this has not always been the case.

The Facts

According to Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Erick Hargan, children were sent with their parents to a family center, but the 9th Circuit Court ruled in 2016 that children cannot be held for more than 20 days with their parents. As a result, children are separated from their parents.

Despite this ignominious fact, these centers are not concentration camps. They are staffed by carefully vetted, experienced caregivers and provide food, safety and classes for the children as well. Kids can call their parents and talk with them over a provided phone. The HHS also provides long term housing for the children if need be, placing them in the homes of relatives in the U.S. or a vetted sponsor.

The Spin

Outrage swept the major news outlets over the past two weeks in predictable fashion as images and audio of distraught children flooded the media. Many on the left asserted that Trump is motivated by a hate of immigrants and has no heart. The first claim is unverifiable as it requires telekinesis, and the second statement is blatantly false: Trump may be at risk for a heart attack and therefore must have a heart. The vast majority of news sources blame Trump and his Zero Tolerance policy for the separations, though a new study by Rasmusson indicates a clear majority of American voters place more of the blame on the children’s parents than on Trump.

In fairness, the Zero Tolerance policy only increased the number of arrests made, upping the number of separations, and did not originate the policy of separating children. Many on the right have harped on this fact, claiming that the separation policy was in place under former president Barack Obama. This is not true, as Obama’s policy was to keep families in the same detention center. The only difference is that 9th Circuit Court didn’t severely restrict family detention centers under Obama as it does now under Trump.

This storyline has fomented a revolting amount of faux hysteria along with a repulsive amount of vitriolic spittle toward the president and his administration. I’m sure there are people in the media who are sincerely censured by the plight of these kids and I don’t mean to dismiss them, but these public outbursts of outrage ring hollow when 1.5 million U.S. kids are homeless and every 43 minutes an abortionist decapitates a pre-born child and crushes their tiny, helpless body. Where is the around the clock coverage on these stories? Where are the impassioned pleas for decency for these children?

The Solution

I get the visceral reaction people have toward this issue, trust me — as an older brother nothing makes me lose my temper as fast as when someone picks on my younger siblings. But the answer to this situation is not to shout down your opposition, marginalize the helpless or tweet obscenities toward the president. Instead, we must discuss this issue as civil human beings and seek to deter parents from making the perilous journey across the gang-riddled desert with their children by building a wall and making legal immigration easier.

Questions? Comments? The author would love to hear from you at [email protected].