[Vision2020] Some Myths about Immigration Policies

Nicholas Gier ngier006 at gmail.com
Sun Jun 24 14:28:00 PDT 2018

Some myths about immigration policies.....
by Michele Martin (Cal. State Univ., Fullerton)

There is so much misinformation out there about the Trump administration's
new "zero tolerance" policy that requires criminal prosecution, which then
warrants the separating of parents and children at the border. Before
responding to a post defending this policy, please do your research...As a
professor at a local Cal State, I research and write about these issues, so
here, I'll make it easier for you:

Myth: This is not a new policy and was practiced under Obama and Clinton -
FALSE. The policy to separate parents and children is new and was
instituted on 4/6/2018. It was the brainchild of John Kelly and Stephen
Miller to serve as a deterrent for undocumented immigration, approved by
Trump, and adopted by Sessions. Prior administrations detained migrant
families, but didn’t have a practice of forcibly separating parents from
their children unless the adults were deemed unfit.

Myth: This is the only way to deter undocumented immigration - FALSE.
Annual trends show that arrests for undocumented entry are at a 46 year
low, and undocumented crossings dropped in 2007, with a net loss (more
people leaving than arriving). Deportations have increased steadily though
(spiking in 1996 and more recently), because several laws that were passed
since 1996 have made it legally more difficult to gain legal status for
people already here, and thus increased their deportations (I address this
later under the myth that it's the Democrats' fault). What we mostly have
now are people crossing the border illegally because they've already been
hired by a US company, or because they are seeking political asylum.
Economic migrants come to this country because our country has kept the
demand going. But again, many of these people impacted by Trump's "zero
tolerance" policy appear to be political asylum-seekers.

Myth: Most of the people coming across the border are just trying to take
advantage of our country by taking our jobs - FALSE. Most of the parents
who have been impacted by Trump's "zero tolerance" policy have presented
themselves as political asylum-seekers at a U.S. port-of-entry, from El
Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Rather than processing their claims,
they have been taken into custody on the spot and had their children ripped
from their arms. The ACLU alleges that this practice violates the Asylum
Act, and the UN asserts that it violates the UN Treaty on the State of
Refugees, one of the few treaties the US has ratified.  This is an illegal
act on the part of the United States government, not to mention morally and
ethically reprehensible. https://www.nytimes.com/2001/1

Myth: We're a country that respects the Rule of Law, and if people break
the law, this is what they get - FALSE. We are a country that has an
above-ground system of immigration and an underground system. Our
government (under both parties) has always been aware that US companies
recruit workers in the poorest parts of Mexico for cheap labor, and ICE
(and its predecessor INS) has looked the other way because this underground
economy benefits our country to the tune of billions of dollars annually.
Thus, even though the majority of people crossing the border now are
asylum-seekers, those who are are asylum-seekers, those who are economic
migrants (migrant workers) likely have been recruited here to do jobs
Americans will not do. https://www.upi.com/Top_News/O

Myth: The children have to be separated from their parents because there
parents must be arrested and it would be cruel to put children in jail with
their parents - FALSE. First, in the case of economic migrants crossing the
border illegally, criminal prosecution has not been the legal norm, and
families have been kept together at all cost. Also, crossing the border
without documentation is a typically a misdemeanor not requiring arrest,
but rather a civil proceeding.  Additionally, parents who have been
detained have historically been detained with their children in ICE "family
residential centers," again, for civil processing. The Trump
administration's shift in policy is for political purposes only, not legal
ones. See p. 18: https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/ms-l-v-ice-plaintiffs-

Myth: We have rampant fraud in our asylum process the proof of which is the
significant increase we have in the number of people applying for asylum.
FALSE. The increase in asylum seekers is a direct result of the increase in
civil conflict and violence across the globe. While some people may believe
that we shouldn't allow any refugees into our country because "it's not our
problem," neither our current asylum law, nor our ideological foundation as
a country support such an isolationist approach.  There is very little
evidence to support Sessions' claim that abuse of our asylum-seeking
policies is rampant. Also, what Sessions failed to mention is that the
majority of asylum seekers are from China, not South of the border. Here is
a very fair and balanced assessment of his statements: Here is a very fair
and balanced assessment of his statements: http://www.politifact.com/

Myth: The Democrats caused this, "it's their law." FALSE. Neither the
Republicans nor the Democrats caused this, the Trump administration did
(although the Republicans could fix this today, and have refused). I
believe what this myth refers to is the passage of the Illegal Immigration
Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, which were both passed under
Clinton in 1996. These laws essentially made unauthorized entry into the US
a crime (typically a misdemeanor for first-time offenders), but under both
Republicans and Democrats, these cases were handled through civil
deportation proceedings, not a criminal proceeding, which did not require
separation. And again, even in cases where detainment was required,
families were always kept together in family residential centers, unless
the parents were deemed unfit (as mentioned above). Thus, Trump's assertion
that he hates this policy but has no choice but to separate the parents
from their children, because the Democrats "gave us this law" is false and
nothing more than propaganda designed to compel negotiation on bad policy.

Myth: The parents and children will be reunited shortly, once the parents'
court cases are finalized. FALSE. Criminal court is a vastly different
beast than civil court proceedings. Also, the children are being processed
as unaccompanied minors ("unaccompanied alien children"), which typically
means they are sent into the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement
(ORR), which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS).
Under normal circumstances when a child enters the country without his or
her parent, ORR attempts to locate a family member within a few weeks, and
the child is then released to a family member, or if a family member cannot
be located, the child is placed in a residential center (anywhere in the
country), or in some cases, foster care. Prior to Trump's new policy, ORR
was operating at 95% capacity, and they simply cannot effectively manage
the influx of 2000+ children, some as young as 4 months. Also, keep in
mind, these are not unaccompanied minor children, they have parents. There
is great legal ambiguity on how and even whether the parents will get their
children back because we are in uncharted territory right now. According to
the ACLU lawsuit (see below), there is currently no easy vehicle for
reuniting parents with their children. Additionally, according to a May
2018 report, numerous cases of verbal, physical and sexual abuse were found
to have occurred in these residential centers. https://www.aclu.org/news/

Myth: This policy is legal. LIKELY FALSE. The ACLU filed a lawsuit against
the Trump administration on 5/6/18, and a recent court ruling denied the
government's motion to dismiss the suit. The judge deciding the case stated
that the Trump Administration policy is "brutal, offensive, and fails to
comport with traditional notions of fair play and decency." The case is
moving forward because it was deemed to have legal merit.


A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they
shall never sit in.

-Greek proverb

“Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity.
Immaturity is the inability to use one’s understanding without guidance
from another. This immaturity is self- imposed when its cause lies not in
lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage to use it without
guidance from another. Sapere Aude! ‘Have courage to use your own
understand-ing!—that is the motto of enlightenment.

--Immanuel Kant
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