By Robert Gagnon
Originally published by WesternJournal
Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ June 14 statement about immigration policy is actually well thought-out and makes sense.
The people who are endangering children are those who are advocating for policies that will encourage massive increases in such attempts across the border. The greatest risk to children lies not in short-term family separations (separations from parents were a particularly common feature of life in earlier eras) but in the hazardous journey to cross the U.S. border in between legal ports of entry, where children are often at the mercy of criminal elements.
Here is Sessions’ statement, which I have reordered somewhat for smoother arrangement, paying special attention to the question of what to do with illegal immigrants who come with children.
First, those who seek to retain the Obama administration’s policy of not detaining illegal immigrants with children but releasing them with a court date (1) makes mush of US immigration law and (2) poses a greater danger to children.
(1) “The previous administration wouldn’t prosecute illegal aliens who entered the country with children. It was de facto open borders. The results were unsurprising. More and more illegal aliens started showing up at the border with children. To illustrate, in 2013, there were fewer than 15,000 family units apprehended crossing our border illegally between ports of entry. Five years later, it was more than 75,000 — a five-fold increase in five years.” To this can be added that 80 percent of those released don’t return for their scheduled court date.
(2) “It should be noted the perils to which these parents subject their children.” “Importantly, children are far more at risk attempting entry in remote areas.” “Hundreds of aliens die every year trying to make it to the border to illegally enter this country. In many cases, children are trafficked, abused, or recruited by criminal gangs. No one should subject their child to this treacherous journey — and yet the open borders lobby encourages it every day. … The open borders, pro-amnesty crowd encouraged that — and they have the gall to attack those of us who want to end this lawlessness and the dangers these children face. … Criminal networks spread the lie that kids could get amnesty. As a result, tens of thousands of vulnerable children made the dangerous journey North — with terrible humanitarian consequences.”
“But the Trump administration is ending the Obama-era incentives to bring children here illegally. Last September, the Trump administration ended DACA. And now that DACA is over, the criminals can’t spread the lie that kids can get amnesty. Our policies are discouraging people from making children endure that treacherous journey. Everything the open borders lobby is doing is encouraging that and endangering these children. It’s that simple.”
Second, separation of children from a parent or parents is common for criminal offenses and, in the case of illegal immigration, normally of short duration.
“Our policies that can result in short term separation of families is not unusual or unjustified. American citizens that are jailed do not take their children to jail with them. And non-citizens who cross our borders unlawfully — between our ports of entry — with children are not an exception.” “Having children does not give you immunity from arrest and prosecution. It certainly doesn’t give immunity to American citizens.” In an oral, parenthetical remark to his formal speech, Sessions noted: “Normally the adults are only held in custody for a week or two before they enter a plea of guilty for time served and allowed to go home with their children.”
Children can’t be, shouldn’t be and aren’t jailed with a parent but protected during a parent’s short detention period: “We are not sending children to jail with their parents. The law requires that children who cannot be with their parents be placed in custody of the Department of Health and Human Services within 72 hours. We currently spend more than $1 billion a year in taxpayer dollars taking care of unaccompanied illegal alien minors. Most are in HHS custody. They are provided food, education in their native language, health and dental care, and transported to their destination city — all at taxpayer expense.”
“[The parents] are the ones who broke the law, they are the ones who endangered their own children on their trek. The United States on the other hand, goes to extraordinary lengths to protect them while the parents go through a short detention period. … If the adults go to one of our many ports of entry to claim asylum, they are not prosecuted and the family stays intact pending the legal process. The problem is that it became well known that adults with children were not being prosecuted for unlawful entry and the numbers surged.”
Third, the Obama administration encouraged abuse of claims of asylum, which now needs to be pulled back.
“Beginning in 2009, the previous Administration released most aliens apprehended at the border who requested asylum into the United States with a document asking them to show up for a hearing at some later date. Word spread quickly that by asserting a fear of returning to one’s home country, one could remain in the United States. The results are just what one would expect. The number of illegal entrants has surged. Asylum claims skyrocketed. … The number of these aliens placed in immigration court proceedings went from fewer than 4,000 [in 2009] to more than 73,000 by 2016 — nearly a 19-fold increase [in only seven years].”
You can read more here.