Giving in to concerns about safety and overcrowding, the Trump administration has been forced to release hundreds of detained migrants from federal facilities as well as to stop detaining any more people attempting to enter the United States without documentation.
This move proves that Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy of arresting and incarcerating migrants has been a failure which has caused many more problems than it solved.
According to The Los Angeles Times, the U.S. Border Patrol has released several hundred migrants from detention centers in Texas due to severe overcrowding in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities.
One group of 200 migrants, mostly families with children, was released into the Rio Grande Valley on Wednesday, while 50 more were released the day before, the Times reported.
In addition, there will be more releases from ICE facilities every day until the number of detainees is reduced to manageable levels.
“It is a crisis,” a Border Patrol official who remained anonymous told the Times. “It’s not a self-proclaimed crisis.”
Apprehensions of migrants at the U.S. border with Mexico increased in February to more than 66,000, a jump of 38 percent from the month before. This equaled the highest levels of migrant apprehensions at any time during the past ten years, according to government figures.
“It reached a breaking point,” an official with ICE said.
Volunteers with groups that assist migrants said that the Trump administration’s decision to release migrants in large numbers now is an attempt to influence American opinion about the conditions at the Mexican border.
“I feel like they’re trying to put some stress on the volunteer and advocacy groups, all of us touting ‘There’s no crisis down here,’” activist Elizabeth Cavazo told the Times. “Maybe it’s for them to save face because they’ve been calling this a border crisis and everything’s peachy keen down here. That’s what it feels like.”
Trump‘s Immigration Policies Have Failed
The new program is at odds with Trump‘s opposition to the practice called “catch and release,” in which families who are detained after crossing the border are later released. Trump has often railed against the policy, including when he said last year that border agents “are not allowed to properly do their job at the Border because of ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws like Catch & Release.”
This is when he ordered Attorney General Jeff Sessions to put in place the “zero tolerance” program which required that all adults be arrested and detained, and their minor children removed from their custody. The move caused an international outcry and Trump was accused of kidnapping children in order to enforce his immigration policies.
Although federal officials have said that overcrowding and safety concerns required them to change to the new program, there are other issues at play as well. Conditions at ICE detention facilities have come under scrutiny over the past year. There have been charges of abuse as well as the deaths of multiple children in the custody of the Border Patrol.
Donald Trump‘s immigration policies have clearly failed. Nothing he has done has come close to solving any real problems that America has with immigrants. And, now he has been forced to admit that his policies have actually created additional problems, including abuse and deaths of children.
Donald Trump‘s presidency has failed, and it’s time for new leadership to address and provide real solutions to the problems of our country.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.