Trump's Zero-Tolerance Policy: The New Trail of Tears?
By Phelicia Ball
The biggest issue raised by Trump during his presidential campaign was immigration. We’ve all heard about his much-anticipated massive border wall that he insinuated Mexico would fund. Whether this was feasible was surely up for debate. For many Trump supporters, this zero tolerance immigration policy validated their vote, as Trump continually argued that the American culture was threatened by immigration.
Recently, the Trump administration has excessively cracked down on immigration with a tough immigration agenda. Hundreds of families have reported to have been separated within the last month. An undocumented mother from Honduras cried as her baby was taken away by a federal official while breastfeeding in the detention center, awaiting prosecution for illegally entering the country.
The family separation policy was announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in May as a part of the “zero-tolerance” crackdown on immigration, and it is already happening. The Trump administration is doing whatever they have to do to prosecute immigrants, even if this means separating families, regardless of whether they’re seeking asylum. According to human rights advocates, prosecuting refugees who are seeking asylum could violate international law. Previously, the Justice Department seldom targeted families and many were sent to immigration court instead of being criminally prosecuted. Now, attorneys are being overloaded with misdemeanor cases, leaving a concern for much more serious cases.
“People are not going to caravan or otherwise stampede our border”, Sessions emphasized during a press conference. Later saying, “We don’t want to separate families, but we don’t want families to come to the border illegally.”
The administration’s crackdown on immigration by separating families is brutal and inhumane; completely going against what this country is supposed to stand for. Eleanor Acer, leader of the refugee protection program at Human Rights First, coins the practice “simply barbaric”.