Is it “morally unacceptable” to separate children from migrants arrested at the border? Editorialists at the Wall Street Journal think so, but no U.S. jail that we know of allows children to stay with their parents behind bars. And, in any event, an agreement accepted by the Obama administration bars migrant families with children from being detained for more than 20 days
Before President Donald Trump’s Department of Homeland Security got serious with a Zero-Tolerance policy, children served as get-out-of-jail-free cards for border crashers. Families were routinely released with a notice to appear in immigration court at a future date. They rarely showed, and melted into the general population of illegal aliens.
Not surprisingly, some among the latest wave of migrants say they put children in harm’s way, figuring that the presence of their young charges would gain them an earlier release. Others admit to posing falsely with children who are not their own. Border Patrol officials say such fraud is on the rise.
Who’s sliding down the moral slippery slope now?
Border apprehensions of adults bringing children skyrocketed during the Obama administration, from about 15,000 in Fiscal Year 2013 (the first time separate statistics were reported) to more than 75,000 in FY 2017.
Now, dodging the thorny matters of familial responsibility and the exploitation of minors by profiteering human smugglers, craven politicians and credulous media outlets raise the grim specter of childhood “concentration camps” in America. It’s time for a reality check.
According to one news report, the federal government spends $34,660 annually on each unaccompanied minor. That’s three times what the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates American middle-class families spend on their youngsters, and multiple times more American children in poverty will ever see.
Heeding the echo chamber of criticism against the DHS family separation policy, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, proposes increasing the number of immigration judges to expedite hearings at the border. The Justice Department is already on the case, dispatching new judges to tackle an ever-lengthening docket.
But those who swallow specious moral platitudes and bow to manipulated media do a disservice to the nation – are compromising the rule of law and inviting more chaos at the border.
“Demanding that border-jumpers bringing children with them should be exempt from prosecution is a sure-recipe for even more children to be smuggled through Mexico and to the Rio Grande,” notes Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies.
As DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said this week: “We will not apologize for doing our job.”