A federal judge in Washington rejected on September 27 the Trump administration’s attempt to fast-track deportations. Initially announced in July, the policy would enable the Department of Homeland Security to quickly deport anyone who has been in the country for less than two years. It had yet to go into effect elsewhere, but it was used for migrants who were arrested soon after crossing the border illegally.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection was once considered a low-key organization, but now with controversies at the border front and center, they have become one of the most high-profile agencies in the United States Government.
There was little surprise when the Health and Human Services (HHS) inspector general recently announced kids were deeply traumatized by separation from their parents, which was part of the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy involving migrants in detention. Overall, the U.S. Government’s actions caused anxiety and stress in children of all ages, but particularly preteens.
The Department of Homeland Security recently announced plans to take money from other programs to further expand ICE resources and its capacity to enforce and detain immigrants. This shift also includes the dismantling of the Flores agreement created in 1997 after the Flores v. Reno court case that provides basic protections to children of detained immigrants, including a 20-day limit for holding all minors. The says that DHS could even detain families indefinitely, arguing it is the only way to deter undocumented immigrants from entering the country.
Most undocumented immigrants fleeing violence or poverty are apprehended by immigration authorities in border states like California, but a recent National Public Radio study reveals that more than half of them are sent to detention centers in remote rural areas. This worries advocacy groups because immigrants detained in these facilities find it more difficult to obtain legal representation and are more likely to have their asylum claims denied.
There has been a steady stream of reports about the conditions in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers holding migrants. Now a new report by the Office of Inspector General, which is a federal watchdog organization within the Department of Homeland Security, shows how bad things have gotten in four of them, particularly regarding unusable bathrooms and unsafe food. According to CNN, these inspections were unannounced and conducted between May and November of 2018. The facilities can hold nearly 5,000 detainees.
The president is not big on planning or details. Often when speaking about important issues using his Twitter account instead of a press conference. The good news in all of this is that legislation is not created simply by demanding it in a Twitter rant. On the other hand, the administration has made many changes to the immigration system, and have many proposals that could come to pass.
The U.S. Border Patrol has announced that nearly 100,000 migrants were arrested at the southern border in April. This is the second straight month where these numbers topped 90,000. Numbers this year project to be an estimated 531,711 apprehensions and inadmissibles. This is up from 521,090 in fiscal 2018.
The current administration’s disregard for the law and protocols is well established at this point. The latest example is the president’s recent threat to “dump” detainees in California’s sanctuary cities and counties. According to the Los Angeles Times, the President has recently tweeted and spoken publicly about this, even though this would be illegal.
Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen is leaving her cabinet post this week. As the primary face of President Trump’s policy regarding immigration issues, Nielsen was responsible for what has happened at the southern border since her appointment in December of 2017. Such low lights include the separation of migrant children from their family.