Kim has an interesting take on the immigration question that demonstrates how the way the issue is presented by the political class and the media is an insincere fraud.
By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
I sympathize with Willem Van Spronsen. Maybe that’s a bad way to start this post but it feels like the most honest way to start this post. A mentally ill anarchist, not unlike myself, Willem wanted to end his life but he wanted to end it for a cause. So he attacked an ICE detention center with pipe bombs and let the cops do the rest. I’ve never made my disdain for Antifa a secret, I’ve befriended too many right-wing anti-imperialists caught in their crossfire, but god help me, this struck me as a move in the right direction for Pacific Northwest anarchists, who have lately been far too busy bombarding alt-right imbeciles to confront our growing police state.
My sympathy is not exclusively political however. My sympathy comes from a place of very personal outrage and my outrage comes from a deeply traumatic childhood. I can usually retain a pretty jaded gonzo snark with my writing, stemming from my misanthropic drag queen sense of humor. But when you’ve been fucked with by role-crazy adults as a child, part of you will always be that child. So when I see kids in fucking cages, I see myself brutally misgendered in a confessional waiting for hell. And that’s when I flip my proverbial shit and get downright histrionic. The only reason why I haven’t gone full Kaczynski like Willem, aside from the fact that my meds are working and I generally appose initiatory violence, is because I’m usually too livid in these moments to handle anarcho-home-ec projects like IED’s. I’m also probably too pissed off to write a completely lucid blog post, so this time I decided to wait a week and take a closer look at the issue of the camps.
It’s very tempting to drop the lion share of the blame on a loud-mouth bully like Trump. He’s certainly made the immigration issue more personal by declaring entire classes of people war criminals and encouraging his beloved gorilla juice-heads in ICE to get their Gestapo on. The harsh reality that the media has chosen to ignore however is that there is nothing particularly new about Orange-Man-Bad’s persecution of pint-sized undocumented line-crossers. In fact, the bastard still comes in fourth behind the last three presidents in mass deportations. The modern militarization of the boarder actually started decades before Trump with another sanction-happy rapist named Bill Clinton (I believe the two may have met once or twice at one of Jeffrey Epstein’s Pretty Baby-Eyes Wide Shut Parties) which was just one small part of his fascistic war on children, the hallmark of which was his draconian Biden-approved crime bill which essentially declared black childhood to be a felony. And this is where we meet the concentration camp question.
Tucker Carlson has a predictable response to the Willem Van Spronsen incident. I disagree with Carlson that the Antifa is inherently connected to the mainstream Democratic Party-oriented left just as I disagree with the often-made claim that the Trumpians are inherently connected to the neo-fascists.
As a general rule, I do not take sides in the usual conflicts between liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, and Proudboys/Alt-Right vs. Antifa/Far-Left. I consider all of this to be playing the System’s game, and a “bread and circuses” distraction from the real issues.
I would generally give Willem Van Spronsen an A for attitude and an F for execution. Whatever one’s views on the immigration question, a revolutionary upheaval will certainly involve attacks on state facilities and outposts in various circumstances. It’s the way revolution is done. Any kind of revolutionary upheaval needs folks that will go the distance. However, he strikes me as a mentally ill guy who committed suicide by cop via virtue signaling, which is often the case with these “lone wolf” terrorist types. He did nothing to improve conditions in the detention centers, and likely made them worse by motivating the authorities to increase the level of security in such places.
Nor do I think Van Spronsen’s Antifa associates would create a better society than the one we have now. In fact, they would create a much worse society, basically like Bolshevism, possibly more like Maoism or the Khmer Rouge. Not that they would ever be large enough or functional enough to bring that about. Like their Alt-Right tribal enemies, the only value of these groups is as disruptive virus within the system, and counterforce to each other.
But the outrage over “terrorism” coming from “the other side” also rings hollow. The US federal regime/global empire is the number one terrorist organization in the world today. So-called “federal agents” (the entire alphabet soup of them) are by nature members of a terrorist organization. The Tacoma incident was simply a matter of a mini-terrorist taking on a mega-terrorist. Big deal.
This is quite good. Totally smashes the conventional narrative that the abuse of migrants is somehow unique to Trump. The same thing is happening with the migrant detention center issue nowadays that happened with the Iraq War during the George W. Bush era. In both cases, liberal and left opinion used the issue to score some partisan and ideological points, and then quickly forgot about the issue (with some exceptions, of course) when there was a change in the political winds. When Obama came along, the antiwar left virtually disappeared. When another Democrat becomes president, the migrant issue will be dropped as well.
My main criticism of the mainstream right is their jingoistic flag-waving, dupiness for imperialism and their corporate-love (“those poor oppressed billionaires paying capital gains taxes”). My main criticism of the “far-right” is that many of them are so anti-immigrant and anti-private crime (particularly black crime) they end up sucking the dicks of feds and cops in the process. If you don’t want immigration, build a wall around your city-state or township. If you want to fight crime, form a posse or militia or expanded neighborhood watch. But Fuck the System and its stooges. Period.
By Darlene Cunha
New York Times
Tracy Nuetzi, a Trump voter and resident of Florida, was an American citizen for 60 years, until the country decided she wasn’t.
“I thought, ‘This is a mistake, this must be a mistake,’” she said. Ms. Nuetzi spent nearly a year, from December 2017 to November 2018, trying to prove she was an American, and not liable to be arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
US President Donald Trump’s immigration policies have been extremely divisive and has led to rising social tensions across the country, says an American political analyst in Virginia.
the United States right now, immigration is one of these very divisive
issues,” said Keith Preston, chief editor of AttacktheSystem.com.
“In American politics, there will always be occasionally some very divisive issue that emerges in which people have very emotionally-held beliefs,” Preston told Press TV on Sunday.
“It appears that this issue is now escalating and becoming more intense,” he added.
A 69-year-old man armed with a rifle threw incendiary devices at an immigration jail in Washington state early on Saturday morning, then was found dead after four police officers arrived and opened fire, authorities said.
A friend of the dead man said she thought he wanted to provoke a fatal conflict, the Seattle Times reported, and described him as an anarchist and anti-fascist.
The Tacoma police department said the officers responded about 4am to the privately run Tacoma Northwest Detention Center, a Department of Homeland Security detention facility that holds migrants pending deportation proceedings.
Immigration has been the subject of a divisive political battle in the US, which has struggled for more than a year with a migration crisis on its southern border with Mexico.
Many Americans oppose immigration and believe that immigrants bring crime and steal good jobs, while others are sympathetic to immigrants and recognize that the US is an aging nation of low birthrate and needs immigration to make its economy and population grow.
Thousands of protesters staged rallies across the United States on Friday to protest Trump’s immigration policies.
Trump has made his hard-line stance on immigration an integral part of his presidency and has promised to build a wall along the US-Mexican border to curb the flow of migrants from Mexico and Central America.
The Trump administration has sought to curb the flow of undocumented migrants and limiting legal immigration, and replace it with a merit-based system.
Many undocumented migrants crossing illegally into the US are asylum seekers fleeing violence and poverty in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
The treatment of migrants in the detention centers, particularly child migrants, has come under fire in recent months, with reports emerging of filthy conditions and cruelty from staff.
Last week, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said she is “deeply shocked” at the conditions in which the US government is keeping detained migrants and refugees, including children.
The local population is at its lowest since the 1950s, with no turnaround in sight, as tourists continue to chase locals out.
by Chiara Albanese, Giovonni Salzano, and Federico Vespignani
If you’ve been to Venice, you get it. Even the most jaded globetrotter can’t help but do a double-take at the sheer originality—and beauty—of the centuries-old city built entirely on water.
Yet even the quickest visit reveals that Venice is no longer a living city, with scores more tourists than actual Venetians crowding its lagoon, bridges and walkways. The numbers bear that out. The city’s population basically peaked in the 1500s, and though it rallied again to near 16th century levels in the 1970s, today there are just one third as many Venetians as 50 years ago. More…
In my perfect world, there would be nothing but voluntary communities, and particular communities could be as open or closed as their members wanted. I tend to think that for utilitarian reasons within the current state-capitalist system there needs to be at least some limitation on both immigration and discrimination. I don’t know that throwing open the borders and saying, “Come one, come all” would have a happy ending, just like I don’t think anyone’s freedom is being abridged when WalMart can’t put a sign out front saying, “No Coloreds Allowed.” Virtually the entire spectrum of the ruling class and the state benefits from mass immigration, i.e. more scab labor employers, more clients for social services bureaucrats, more constituents for ethnic lobbies, more voters for political parties, more students for the education bureaucracy, new parishioners for organized religion, etc. But immigration enforcement also benefits other state/ruling class interests, i.e. the federal police state, companies that get state contracts to build walls/detention centers, the prison-industrial complex, capitalist corporations that profit from prison labor, retrograde Republican politicians using immigration as political vehicle, etc. It’s a win-win situation for the power elite, and lose-lose for everyone else.
I don’t think it’s a Left/Right issue per se. Immigrant detention centers didn’t start with Trump. They’ve been around for quite a while spanning Democratic and Republican administrations. I’d argue immigrant detention centers are part of the wider apparatus of the police state/state legal racket/prison-industrial complex. So people in immigrant detention centers are in the same boat as people in jails, prisons, places of involuntary psychiatric incarceration, juvenile detention, etc, etc,etc Traditionally, the US prison system has overlapped with the older slave system as well as things like Jim Crow. I’d argue it’s also something that transcends boundaries of race, class, gender, politics, etc even if those categories aren’t irrelevant either. But the same traditional conservative vs traditional progressive dichotomy that defines US politics today has been in place for over a century with swings back and forth in different directions.
Progressives have exercised a great deal of influence over US society since around 1900 (Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were Progressives, for God’s sake). Progressives have long been involved in facilitating authoritarian state policies (eugenics, racism, and drug and alcohol prohibition among them). During the course of the 20th century progressives did an about face on race, immigration, homosexuality, the “sexual revolution,” etc. But they’ve still favored authoritarian state policies in many other areas. For example, the modern “war on drugs” has been supported just as zealously by liberal politicians and civil rights leaders as conservative Republicans and the religious right, and the war on drugs is to a large degree the foundation/cornerstone of the modern American police state (though there are obviously many other contributing factors).
Most progressives are not anarchists or libertarians (left or right) and don’t claim to be. They accept the supposed legitimacy of the state, state law, state penal institutions, etc. They just don’t like it when these things are used against people they like (illegal immigrants, environmental protestors, etc) as opposed to people they don’t like (the Bundy clan, corporate executives, gun nuts, racists, etc). But given their acceptance of these things, they don’t really have a principled argument against the statist argument that says, “If you don’t want to go to jail, don’t break the law” or “The law is the law. If you don’t like the law, you can work to change it not break it” or “These people chose to break the law and choices have consequences.” Once the legitimacy of the state, state law, police, prisons, etc. is conceded, I don’t know that there is a principled counterargument that can be raised that doesn’t amount to special pleading.
Of course, my view is that anarchists and libertarians who wish to be consistent should stand in solidarity will ALL persons being held by the police state and prison-industrial complex (and, yes, that includes serial killers on death row, racist hate criminals, scumbag corporate executives, pedos, and every other kind of creep imaginable as well illegal immigrants, drug users/sellers, sex workers, “consensual criminals,” self-defenders, “survival criminals,” vagrants, etc). The struggle against the state/ruling class/power elite/globalism/imperialism/capitalism/Zionism is not a “Nice People Only” club.
By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
Well, he finally got what he wanted, dearest motherfuckers. That vile crusted jizz rag we call a president has finally managed to manufacture an actual crisis at the border. After months of saber rattling conspiracy theories about secret jihadists and child actors, after years of demonizing people escaping the shitholes that Uncle Sam dug himself in the killing fields of the Northern Triangle, the grand swarms have finally arrived, too great in number for even the Donald’s enemies on the fake news to ignore. Naturally, Trump is playing up this tragedy as vindication for all his racist wolf-crying but the sick reality is that it’s likely largely the result of it. A self-fulfilling doomsday prophecy for the MAGA era.
An immensely important essay given the current controversies.
“It seems as if the time has come to abandon terms like open and closed borders in favor of decentralized borders. We imagine a free society with decentralized borders would consist of a mixture of open borders, closed borders, public property, private property and unowned land. We believe a network of competing public and private spaces which allow for freedom of movement is most consistent with the sovereignty of the individual.”
By Derrick Broze and John Vibes
The following essay is chapter 10 from the upcoming Manifesto of the Free Humans, book 3 of The Conscious Resistance series, from Derrick Broze and John Vibes. The book will be released for purchase and free download on April 7, 2017.
We are going to take a look at one more area of conflict among students of radical political philosophy. After examining differences of opinion on property and the environment we believe it is essential to discuss the arguments around borders and immigration. We start by considering several key questions. What would migration look like in the absence of the State? How does a society’s view on property affect the view of immigration? Would there still be a class of people known as “illegals”?
US security forces have engaged with migrants at the country’s southern border with Mexico. US border patrol agents used tear gas to keep the group from approaching the crossing line. The recent deaths of two immigrant children in U-S custody have piled pressure on President Donald Trump for his tough immigration policies. The U-S president blamed the Democrats and QUOTE- their pathetic policies for the tragedy. Democrats, on the other hand, accuse Trump of demonizing migrants for political gain. The U-S government has been on a partial shutdown over a standoff between the White House and the Congress over funding for a border wall since December 22 last year.
A predictable shit show. I love political fractiousness. Virtually none of the contending factions associated with the present political/culture war paradigm have any relevance to the pan-anarchist position. All of them are groups that seek control of the state or seek to solicit favors from the state. The best bet is for the Left and Right to continue to attack the Center, while simultaneously attacking each other, and for the Left and Right to similarly fracture internally. The objective is to weaken the state’s ability to maneuver while preventing any political faction from gaining a monopoly on power.
Ann Coulter, as everyone knows, is a staunch conservative and immigration hawk. But she correctly perceives that Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric is largely a ruse intended as raw meat to be thrown to his base. Coulter’s examination of electoral politics correctly perceives that the future belongs to the ascending forces represented by the alliance of the techno-oligarchs and the new clerisy (as I have been saying for almost 20 years). By any reasonable standard, Trump is one of the most liberal presidents, if not the most liberal, that America has ever had. Anarchists, libertarians, anti-statists and anti-authoritarians need to get over the “rightwingophobia” that is common in our circles, and start focusing on who the enemy will be in the future.
Every day that Trump does not keep his promises on immigration, thousands of immigrants turn 18 and start block voting for the Democrats, while thousands of traditional Americans die off. Florida and Texas are about five years away from turning solid blue. Trump was our last chance. After this, the country is never going to elect a Republican president again.
Yep. As I am not a conservative, I am not at all unhappy about the prospect of never electing a Republican President again.
This is probably the best and most comprehensive set of proposals for immigration reform that I have seen to date in the sense of upholding humanitarian values, while giving due consideration to everyone’s interests.
By Nathan Smith
My fundamental convictions have not changed: I support open borders. And yet one can’t tilt at windmills too long without feeling a sense of futility and even foolishness. We may have had an impact. We have been noticed in high places, a little. But of course there is no prospect of open borders being adopted as official policy in any of the world’s developed countries anytime soon. Meanwhile, there is room for reasonable hope that immigration policy will move quite a ways in the right direction, and for reasonable fear that it will move far in the wrong direction, in the coming years, and it’s far from clear that advocating open borders is the best way to help accomplish the former, or avoid the latter. To advocate open borders, assuming, as seems likely, that that aim cannot be achieved for decades at least, can only help indirectly, e.g., by expanding the “Overton window,” and might plausibly hurt, by provoking a restrictionist reaction against an open-borders bogeyman. For those idealists who really want to know what justice demands, we’ve explained that. I’d be happy to explain it again, debate it, whatever. But the value of refining the case for open borders still further seems doubtful until there’s evidence that people exist who really want to do the right thing, have read what has been argued so far, and are still unconvinced. My impression is that among people with a thorough exposure to the public case for open borders, as it has been made here and elsewhere, the insufficiency of the arguments offered is not a very important factor in any failure to persuade. Some of the unconvinced just aren’t very smart, while more aren’t good enough to do the right thing when they start to see it, so they bluster and stonewall and scoff.
So in this post, I’m going to attempt something a bit different, involving an unaccustomed degree of compromise. I’m going to lay out a policy platform that, while falling well short of open borders, lies, I think, at the radical end of what might actually find a coalition to carry it through to success in the United States in the near future. It doesn’t institute open borders. If passed, deportations would still occur, and billions who would benefit from immigrating would be excluded from the territory of the United States permanently from birth. Indeed, the centerpiece of this proposed policy, the Residents’ Bill of Rights, wouldn’t increase at all the number of people enjoying a definite legal right of residence, much less a path to citizenship. But it would ensure that all those residing in the United States would be treated a little more justly. It would make it harder to backslide into a harsh enforcement regime or a reduction of immigrant numbers. It would give the foreign born, however they got there, a certain dignity and a certain security. It would cause many acts of wickedness, many violations of fundamental human rights, to cease. It would give conscientious Americans the right to be substantially less ashamed of the way their government treats immigrants. At the same time, by empowering immigration skeptics to act locally instead of nationally, it would appease some of their more legitimate fears. It would not institute open borders, but I believe it would help to prepare the way.
A leftist writer discusses the history of leftist opposition to open borders.
By Angela Nagle
American Affairs Journal
efore “Build the wall!” there was “Tear down this wall!” In his famous 1987 speech, Ronald Reagan demanded that the “scar” of the Berlin Wall be removed and insisted that the offending restriction of movement it represented amounted to nothing less than a “question of freedom for all mankind.” He went on to say that those who “refuse to join the community of freedom” would “become obsolete” as a result of the irresistible force of the global market. And so they did. In celebration, Leonard Bernstein directed a performance of “Ode to Joy” and Roger Waters performed “The Wall.” Barriers to labor and capital came down all over the world; the end of history was declared; and decades of U.S.-dominated globalization followed.
In its twenty-nine-year existence, around 140 people died attempting to cross the Berlin Wall. In the promised world of global economic freedom and prosperity, 412 people died crossing the U.S.-Mexican border last year alone, and more than three thousand died the previous year in the Mediterranean. The pop songs and Hollywood movies about freedom are nowhere to be found. What went wrong?
Of course, the Reaganite project did not end with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Reagan—and his successors from both parties—used the same triumphalist rhetoric to sell the hollowing out of trade unions, the deregulation of banks, the expansion of outsourcing, and the globalization of markets away from the deadweight of national economic interests. Central to this project was a neoliberal attack on national barriers to the flow of labor and capital. At home, Reagan also oversaw one of the most significant pro-migration reforms in American history, the 1986 “Reagan Amnesty” that expanded the labor market by allowing millions of illegal migrants to gain legal status.
Popular movements against different elements of this post–Cold War vision came initially from the Left in the form of the anti-globalization movements and later Occupy Wall Street. But, lacking the bargaining power to challenge international capital, protest movements went nowhere. The globalized and financialized economic system held firm despite all the devastation it wreaked, even through the 2008 financial crisis.
This article by Nathan Smith is the best analysis of the immigration issue that I have seen to date in terms of nuance, honesty, and depth. He argues that there would be both tremendous benefits and tremendous costs if the borders of the United States were to be opened completely (where moving to the USA from another country would be no different than moving from California to Texas or from Virginia to Maryland). Smith summarizes his analysis as follows:
In short, I think the most wild-eyed predictions of the open borders optimists will come true, and to spare, but I think a lot of the forebodings of the grimmest open border pessimists will also prove more than justified.
He ultimately comes down on the side of open borders, primarily on the grounds that the Global South would be the net winners on the economic level. See a critique of Smith’s position by Robert Montenegro here.
By Nathan Smith
A couple of years ago, I wrote a post called “The American Polity Can Endure and Flourish Under Open Borders.” I would not write that post today. The American polity might endure and flourish under open borders, but I wouldn’t claim that confidently. What changed my mind? A greater familiarity with the theoretical models that are the basis for “double world GDP” as a claim about the global economic impact of open borders, especially my own. It turns out that these estimates depend on billions of people migrating internationally under open borders. Previously, my vague and tentative expectations about how much migration would occur under open borders were akin to Gallup poll estimates suggesting that 150 million or so would like to migrate to the USA. Others may disagree, but I was fairly confident at the time that the US polity was robust enough to absorb 150-200 million immigrants (over, say, a couple of decades) and retain its basic political character and structure. I do not think the US polity is robust enough to absorb 1 billion immigrants (even, say, over the course of fifty years) and retain its basic political character and structure.
By Keith Preston
Everyone knows that one of the principal grievances of the right-wing involves the substantial amount of immigration from Latin America to the United States that has taken place in recent decades. The commonly voiced concern is that the traditional “white” (Northern European) majority will lose its majority status, and that persons of Latin American ancestry (combined with people of color generally) will become the demographic majority. Whether this is good or bad is an individual value judgment, but the criticisms often obscure other, perhaps more substantive ways in which the United States is coming to resemble Latin America.
The traditional class system of Latin America is one where the very rich plutocratic elites live in opulence and luxury, and rule over an impoverished working class, an extraordinarily large underclass of the extreme poor and permanently unemployed, and a small middle class of professionals and technocrats. This is precisely the same kind of class system that the United States is developing, particularly in California which is widely considered to be the bellwether of the nation.
In traditional Latin American societies, the elite rule for the sake of pursing their own class interests, without any pretense of interest in the needs of the masses. To the degree that elections are held at all, the candidates are merely functionaries of the plutocracy. US politics is rapidly coming to resemble this model.
The police and the army are the traditionally dominant force in Latin American societies, and there can be no reasonable doubt that the military industrial complex and police state have assumed a comparable role in the United States.
The one noticeable difference is that in many traditional Latin American societies, the Catholic Church hierarchy provided the ruling class with its self-legitimating ideology. In the United States, organized religion is becoming an increasingly marginal force with the new self-legitimating ideology of the state being the totalitarian humanist ideology of the new clerisy.
Interestingly, Latin America has experienced a great deal of liberalization and progress in the past few decades, while the United States has increasingly gone backward. Perhaps Americans need to start emigrating to Latin America.
A Facebook commentator recently added this response to this debate:
In any polarised debate, seek the excluded middle! What neither position here seems to address is the question of commons, which historically acted as a mediator between private property and collectively owned resources. Meanwhile, the allocation of commons necessitates the definition of those who manage those commons, which will be to the exclusion of those who are not. This is, in a sense, a border, albeit on a much smaller scale than that of a nation state. Here are Elinor Ostrom’s 8 Principles for Managing a Commons (or common-pool resource(s) = CPR) – note the first point.
1. The CPR has clearly-defined boundaries (effective exclusion of external unentitled parties)
2. There is congruence between the resource environment and its governance structure or rules
3. Decisions are made through collective-choice arrangements that allow most resource appropriators to participate
4. Rules are enforced through effective monitoring by monitors who are part of or accountable to the appropriators
5. Violations are punished with graduated sanctions
6. Conflicts and issues are addressed with low-cost and easy-to-access conflict resolution mechanisms
7. Higher-level authorities recognize the right of the resource appropriators to self-govern
8. In the case of larger common-pool resources: rules are organized and enforced through multiple layers of nested enterprises
…and I suppose the reason they fail to mention commons is that as far as I’m aware, in European-American settler culture, they didn’t play the role that they have in most other societies.
Repost from a credible source :
If you’re horrified by news of families being separated at the borders, here’s a bit of news you can use.
First, the policy: It helps to be incredibly clear on what the law is, and what has and has not changed. When Donald Trump and Sarah Huckabee Sanders say that the policy of separating children from their parents upon entry is a law passed by Democrats that Democrats will not fix, they are lying.
There are two different policies in play, and both are new.
First is the new policy that any migrant family entering the U.S. without a border inspection will be prosecuted for this minor misdemeanor. The parents get incarcerated and that leaves children to be warehoused. The parents then typically plead guilty to the misdemeanor and are given a sentence of the few days they served waiting for trial. But then when the parents try to reunite with their children, they are given the runaround—and possibly even deported, alone. The children are left in HHS custody, often without family.
Second is a new and apparently unwritten policy that even when the family presents themselves at a border-entry location, seeking asylum—that is, even when the family is complying in all respects with immigration law—the government is snatching the children away from their parents. Here, the government’s excuse seems to be that they want to keep the parents in jaillike immigration detention for a long time, while their asylum cases are adjudicated. The long-standing civil rights case known as Flores dictates that they aren’t allowed to keep kids in that kind of detention, so the Trump administration says they have to break up the families. They do not have to break up families—it is the government’s new choice to jail people with credible asylum claims who haven’t violated any laws that is leading to the heartbreaking separations you’ve been reading about.
So that is what is happening.
By Ilya Somin
The Trump administration recently adopted a “zero tolerance” policy under which undocumented immigrants apprehended by federal officials are forcibly separated from their children. In April and May alone, almost 2000 children were torn from their parents and detained separately, often under cruel conditions likely to cause trauma and inflict longterm developmental damage. Attorney General Jeff Sessions claims that separation of families is justified by the need to enforce the law, and even asserts that the administration’s policy is supported by the Bible. I will leave the Biblical issues to theologians and cardinals, who have addressed them far better than I could. But Sessions’ secular argument is no better than his religious one. There is no law requiring family separation at the border. And even if there was, that still would not be enough to justify the administration’s cruel policy.
The federal law criminalizing “improper entry” by aliens does not require family separation. The law also provides for the use of civil penalties, as well as criminal ones. While it states that the application of civil penalties does not preclude application of criminal ones, it also does not compel federal prosecutors to pursue both. Until the administration’s recent policy change, civil proceedings were in fact the usual approach in case of families with minor children, under both Democratic and Republican administrations. The use of civil proceedings generally does not require pretrial detention, and therefore obviates the need to detain either parents or children; some civil defendants were detained, nonetheless, but in facilities where families can stay together. The Trump administration, by contrast, has sometimes even forcibly separated children from migrants who have not violated any law, but instead have legally crossed the border to petition for asylum in the United States.