As the president’s tweets threaten unauthorized immigrants inside the United States, a new report says that the death toll for migrants trying to enter the United States is up 50 percent over last year, with at least 380 Latin American migrants dying en route so far this year. More are likely to die in border cities as they are forced back into Mexico in what Human Rights First is calling the Migrant Persecution Protocols. The administration has implemented cuts to foreign aid for Central American countries, which will only make the situation of people in those countries more desperate.
On Monday night, Trump tweeted that ICE will begin arresting and deporting “millions” of unauthorized immigrants. Two-thirds of the unauthorized immigrants in the United States have lived here for more than a decade, so the latest Trumpian terror tweet threatens them with the loss of homes, jobs, and U.S. citizen children. The threat, however, may not be real:
“Trump’s announcement apparently caught Immigration and Customs Enforcement by surprise, and it’s unlikely the agency has the resources to carry out an operation of the scale he apparently has in mind.
“But that’s likely not the point.
“The threat of impending deportation will terrorize the roughly 10.5 million undocumented immigrants living in the country as well as the communities they live in. It also serves as the latest illustration that Trump continues to view hardline immigration policy — backed up with threats of force, even if he can’t follow through — as a political winner on the eve of a campaign cycle in which he faces an uphill path to getting reelected.”
Meanwhile, the administration’s request for an additional $4.5 billion in “emergency supplemental” funding faces tough sledding in the House of Representatives, despite a reported deal approving the entire amount in the Senate. The Washington Office on Latin America argues that some of the funding is needed to increase shelter beds for children, despite the terrible record of private “shelters” so far. WOLA’s analysis is careful and detailed, and cautions that changes must be made in shelters and processing at the border, and that only humanitarian funding should be included.
“There is a humanitarian crisis at the border whose dimensions go beyond what was anticipated when relevant U.S. agencies got their 2019 funding. Since October, Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have apprehended or admitted over 400,000 children and parents seeking protection in the United States, a number that dwarfs previous years. These kids and families are being crammed into short-term processing facilities designed for what until recently was the typical migrant: single adults. The conditions are medieval and inhumane. There is an urgent need to appropriate funds to deal with this new challenge, in a way that helps ease the humanitarian situation.
“Of the $4.5 billion in the “emergency supplemental” request, about $3.4 billion seems to be addressed to the real humanitarian situation on the ground. It’s far from perfect, but it is needed. Unlike most things we’ve seen coming out of the White House, this part of the request doesn’t look like it came from Stephen Miller’s desk. It doesn’t have border-wall money in it. Unlike what we’ve become accustomed to, those $3.4 billion don’t seek to make life miserable for migrants, and could be used to support policies and pay the cost of treating them more humanely.
“The other $1.1 billion has more to do with the Trump administration’s hardline measures. It is not necessary and more contentiously political, and Congress should slice it out.”
Besides terminating aid to Central America (except for military aid), the administration continues its determined and unprincipled hostility to asylum seekers approaching the southern border.
“Juarez, once the world’s murder capital, can be a frightening alternative for migrants who had dreamed of reuniting with friends and family in the relative safety of cities across the United States.
“When the ramp-up began Thursday, stunned migrants, some of whom had spent days in border jails, trudged out of Mexico’s immigration office into the sweltering sun. Many had not showered in a week. They had no water, no cellphones, no money and no place to live….
“Many issues surrounding the anticipated influx remain unresolved: Migrants returned to Mexico are allowed to wait there for their hearings in U.S. courts — a period that sometimes spans months — but they do not have permission to work to support themselves. Many do not have relatives there who can take them in, as they do in the United States. Some are sick and in need of doctors or hospitalization.”
Instead of pursuing actual solutions, the administration is doubling down on its deport-everyone-always policies, and on the failed “Remain in Mexico” protocols. Pushing migrants back into Mexico to wait for months for a hearing is dangerous to the migrants and creates impossible pressures on the Mexican border cities where they wait.