I have been watching the current discourse on illegal immigration in the US with great interest and often with rising anger. My anger is not against those of us who are passionate on the subject. My anger is with the media and the politicians. They are not being above board. They are not presenting the full picture, misrepresenting what is going on in fact, to promote their own agenda. To defeat Trump in the mid terms. To support Trump in the mid terms. Either way, you, the voter, are being screwed.
How difficult is it for professional news people to present the entire picture? How many people are apprehended, detained, deported, granted asylum, and so forth for each year since 1997? Come on! All they do is show you bits and pieces that are true enough, but lack the full picture to provide context. They are stoking your anger on purpose. The fact we can't rely upon the main stream media to present an honest, factual, and complete picture so we the people are truly informed is a real danger to our republic.
I am going to present what I see is a more complete and therefore more accurate picture. I am also providing supporting articles.
First off, this crisis is not new. The pictures you see of people behind chain link fencing and barbed wire are not new. George W Bush was lambasted for his handling of illegal immigration and so was Barrack Obama. Quite strenuously in fact. You will find plenty of supporting articles below. If you look for yourself you will find plenty more.
The current crisis Trump is dealing with was created by those who came before. I could go back to even further, but the start of the current crisis actually began in 1988 with the Flores case. This case was finally decided by the Supreme Court in 1993. The key point which impacts the situation today is the decision to limit the amount of time an unaccompanied minor can be held to about 20 days. They have to be deported, returned, or released.
Obama was famous in certain circles for instituting the program of catch and release. According to many sources the Obama administration released 75% of the illegals without pursuing deportation. That included at least 68,000 with existing criminal records in the US. However, Obama wasn't the first to pursue this policy. That was actually George W Bush. Apparently PBS and other liberal outlets had no problem castigating GW Bush for this policy being a disaster. As PBS noted, while this policy was in effect illegal entry across the border surged.
In 2008 George W Bush signed into law a bipartisan bill that required a full immigration hearing for any unaccompanied minors seized at the border who did not come from either Mexico or Canada. Also under this law, immigrant minors from central America must be transferred to DHHS with 72 hours of the apprehension. After this law was signed into effect the illegal immigrant crises exploded. From fewer than 5,000 children in 2008 to nearly 75,000 in 2013. It is important to note none of this impacts anyone from Mexico. It applies only to countries below Mexico.
From 2012 or 2013 forward, the Obama administration responded to the crisis by building or appropriating existing structures to serve as family detention centers. This was met with stiff resistance from pro immigrant groups, progressives, the ACLU, and other groups. Issues with such detention centers being unsafe, unsanitary, and lacking in basic requirements to meet the needs those held were raised under Obama just as they had been under GW Bush. Ultimately most family detention centers were sheltered.
The final factor which helped created this crisis is the practice of releasing families into the general population if they have children. This was done throughout the Obama years with most of these families disappearing and never being seen before an immigration judge. This is well documented. What is not well documented is when this practice began. I am inclined to suspect it began during the illegal surge created by GW Bush with his catch and release policies.
One thing appears obvious to me. People in central America and Mexico appear to follow the changes in our laws and in our practices quite well. Changes in policy or law here result in changes to the numbers of people coming to our borders. No doubt they are watching the current situation quite closely.
It should also be obvious detaining people as a family units was not acceptable to the left, even when done by the left. Which is admirably consistent. However, now we find detaining minors separate from their family is also unacceptable. So that leaves catch and release, where 97% just disappear and never face an immigration judge. That is unacceptable as well. These policies helped create the crisis in the first place.
What we have and have had for the past three decades is unacceptable. The actions or previous administrations only made things worse. Unrestricted immigration and illegal immigration are hugely unpopular with the majority of Americans on both sides. We don't want it. We want the crises ended, we want illegal immigration stopped. Which means doing away with the failed policies of the past, the Flores agreement, and the 2008 immigration law. Good intentions do not mitigate bad results and if what you do creates bad results you have to do something else.
New York Times February 2007
The Least of These - March 2007
The ACLU - December 2010
The Atlanta Journal Constitution - November 2014
MSNBC - November 2014
CNBC - June 2014
The Guardian - July 2014
NBC News - July 2014
Find Law - 2015
Detention Watch Network - 2017
NOLO - June 2012
ACLU - January 2013
Huffington Post - November 2012
CIS - March 2014
Washington Times - March 2014
PBS - June 2014