Violence in Central America has caused a surge in families requesting asylum. The Trump administration has confirmed it’s looking at bold moves to discourage them. But separating moms from kids may prove too draconian, and difficult.
.. Advocates and many Democratic lawmakers this week have recoiled at the Trump administration’s proposed policy of separating mothers from their children. For their part, officials say the surge is so large that such a drastic policy is necessary.
“I would do almost anything to deter the people from Central America from getting on this very, very dangerous network that brings them up through Mexico into the United States,” Kelly told CNN earlier this week... It has also cut the number of refugees admitted to the United States each year to 50,000, down from 110,000... But Central American families seeking asylum at the border are not part of the refugee admissions program, scholars point out. According to US immigration law and international treaties, officials are obligated to give asylum-seekers due process and a hearing to consider their claims... “Is that what the US wants to be identified with around the world?” asks Camilo Pérez-Bustillo, executive director of the Human Rights Center at the University of Dayton in Ohio. “If we want to deter this kind of migration, we might want to focus on the conditions that produce it, and on policies that are transformative in terms of those conditions…. Punishing, in effect, the victims of those conditions because they’re seeking protection seems to be literally perverse.”.. It is reportedly drafting plans to cut billions of dollars from agencies such as the Coast Guard, the Transportation Security Administration, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which provides relief after natural disasters, in order to fund its expanded crackdowns on undocumented immigrants.. Officials have now been instructed to prosecute parents of unaccompanied minors for the crime of human trafficking. Critics consider this deterrent effort, too, a severe blow to those attempting to unify their families, or even save their children’s lives.
.. Supporters of the president’s immigration policies, too, note that the nation’s obligations to asylum-seekers are often easily abused... “An important problem is, a lot of time there are adults bringing kids with them, but they are not their own kids, and they are sort of rent-a-child operations,”.. “Because under Obama, if you had a kid with you, it was almost an automatic ticket to being let go”.. These TV and radio announcements warned people that they would be sent back if they tried to enter the country.“Well, that wasn’t true,”
.. Part of the reason for this surge in immigrants, most of them from Central America, continues to be the ongoing gang violence in countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, which have some of the world’s highest murder rates for nations not at war.
.. in years past the surge of asylum seekers from Central America included a large number of unaccompanied teenagers. Now she mostly sees families with younger children. “So it’s also very difficult for family members already here, and already working long hours, to take on the responsibility for young children needing care all the time, from changing diapers to watching toddlers and preschool age kids.”
.. “You can’t have a first-cut process that approves everybody,” he says. “The ‘credible fear standard’ needs to be raised significantly so that you don’t even get fed into the pipeline for asylum unless you have a more-than-plausible story
.. But few experts believe that in the end, the policy of separating mother from their children would deter families from trying to apply for refuge.
“If the choice is to stay in your country and die, or come to the United States and face whatever may come, it’s not really a choice,”
.. “As traumatizing as it would be to be separated from your children, if the alternative is to see them killed, it’s not really a choice and it won’t be a deterrent from coming.”
the government paid the Trump-owned club to reserve at least one bedroom for two nights.
The charge, according to a newly disclosed receipt reviewed by The Washington Post, was $1,092.
The amount was based on a per-night price of $546, which, according to the bill, was Mar-a-Lago’s “rack rate,” the hotel industry term for a standard, non-discounted price.
.. The receipt, which was obtained in recent days by the transparency advocacy group Property of the People and verified by The Post, offers one of the first concrete signs that Trump’s use of Mar-a-Lago as the “Winter White House” has resulted in taxpayer funds flowing directly into the coffers of his private business.
.. Other agencies that likely have had regular presence at the club, such as the Secret Service, have declined to provide The Post information about potential payments to Mar-a-Lago and have referred requests to the General Services Administration.
.. White House officials and a Coast Guard spokeswoman, as well as representatives of the Trump Organization and Mar-a-Lago, did not respond to questions, including whether Trump’s company regularly charges the government for members of his traveling party to stay at the club.
.. In addition, some questioned why the federal government should pay top dollar for luxury Palm Beach lodging when less expensive options are available nearby.
.. Trump’s frequent trips there have come at an expense to taxpayers. The Coast Guard’s increased costs to protect the waterfront property with round-the-clock patrols and gun-mounted boats have been widely publicized.
.. On the weekend that the government paid for the room, March 3 and 4, Trump was joined by a large retinue of administration officials, including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, then-chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon and then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, who has since become Trump’s chief of staff.