Trump's "zero tolerance": America sided with children of illegal migrants

Author : Georgiy Kuhaleyshvili

Source : 112 Ukraine

Splitting up the families of illegal migrants, Trump failed to achieve a significant improvement in the migration situation around the border with Mexico, but only provoked new streams of criticism against him and activation of Democrats on the eve of the election to the US Congress
09:25, 3 July 2018

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This Saturday, June 30, 750 demonstrations and rallies against the policy of "zero tolerance" of President Donald Trump against illegal migrants took place in various US settlements. According to The USA Today, more than 100 thousand people took part in the protest actions. The protesters demanded the reunification of families of illegal immigrants detained on the US-Mexican border, expressed dissatisfaction with the way the administration treats foreigners who seek political asylum in the United States. Trump was accused of involvement in fascism and the racist organization "Ku Klux Klan", and the current administration was called "Nazis." A hundred protesters arranged a live chain near the Trump Golf Club in the New Jersey area. In Washington, protesters threatened to "calm down" the president if he does not change his attitude towards illegal immigrants.

The policy of "zero tolerance" has been conducted on the US-Mexican border since early 2018 in accordance with the Trump Decree with the participation of the Ministries of Justice and Internal Security, the National Guard of the United States. US border patrols inspect the perimeter of the border and separate families of the detained illegal migrants. Adults are sent to federal prisons, and children and adolescents are placed in special camps under the supervision of the Ministry of Health. Basically, these are canvas towns where minors sleep on mattresses while the fate of their parents is being decided. Criminal cases are initiated with regard to all detainees of adults. Earlier, the US authorities released families of detained illegal immigrants under a subscription for the mandatory appearance in court. As of June 2018, there were 2,623 children of illegal migrants were kept in temporary accommodation.

Related: More than 150 Ukrainians detained in Greece for transport of illegal migrants

The logic of the Trump administration is to intimidate any foreigner who thinks about illegally moving with his family to work in the US. In recent years, illegal migration has become a real scourge of America. About 11 million illegal immigrants dwell on the territory of the United States. Last year, most illegal immigrants came from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (162 thousand). Foreigners will illegally come to work in the US as long as there will be employers who do not want to pay qualified workers a decent salary and provide them with acceptable working conditions but prefer to hire cheaper labor among illegal immigrants for the sake of economy. Most often these are small farmers of old age. About 9% of workers in the southern state of Texas work without a work permit. All these people earn money without paying taxes to the American coffers.

This year, the frequency of violations of crossing the US-Mexican border has increased. In April 2017, 15.7 thousand illegal immigrants were arrested, this year the border patrol detains about 50 thousand people per month. Some illegal immigrants claim political asylum in the United States or seek to enter the country with pregnant wives, because, according to American legislation, a child born in America automatically receives American citizenship. In total, in 2015 the US granted political asylum to more than 26 thousand people.

Related: 67 citizens of Ukraine illegally detained in annexed Crimea, - Chubarov

One of the supporters of the policy of "zero tolerance", US Attorney General Jeff Sessions argued that no one should illegally transport their children to the United States. Watching the tough and uncompromising attitude to the families of illegal immigrants on the part of the US authorities, foreigners should well before going to the US to work without a work permit or applying for political asylum. This is precisely the meaning of the policy of "zero tolerance".


Carrying out a policy of "zero tolerance", Trump expected to fulfill his election promises in the field of combating illegal migration. In addition to strengthening the protection of the US-Mexican border, the Republicans carry out the deportation of illegal immigrants, barred entry to the territory of the United States to citizens from several Muslim countries, from where most refugees come. Under Trump, the influx of refugees into the United States declined by 40%, and 42 thousand refugees were resettled. Trump also thought about repealing the law, which entitles children of illegal immigrants born in the United States to obtain American citizenship. Trump suits the action to the word to gain the image of the president, who fulfills his promises and maintains the electoral base.

Trump's team could have guessed in advance that a "zero tolerance" for illegal immigrants would set up a resonance in the American society. Therefore, the Republicans tried to find at least some kind of threat to US national security on the southern borders so that ordinary Americans perceived the policy of "zero tolerance" and the construction of a wall on the border with Mexico as a forced measure. No one perceives illegal immigrants as a significant threat since the crime rate among them is lower than among the US citizens. Illegal migrants do not represent serious competition for qualified American workers, as they have the dirtiest, low-paid, and non-prestigious jobs.

Related: Police reveals 100 illegal immigrants in Kyiv

As an argument for toughening the migration regime on the border with Mexico, a terrorist threat was chosen. State Treasurer Arizona, Republican Jeff DeWitt said that terrorists from ISIS cross the US-Mexican border, and only Trump is able to cope with this problem. In 2014, the former Republican Congressman Trent Franks spoke about the presence of ISIS in Mexico. Republican Congressman Scott Perry admitted that terrorists are seeping into the US through the southern border. Another Republican, congressman from California, Duncan Hunter, claimed that the border patrol detained ten ISIS fighters on the border with Mexico in Texas in October 2014. At the same time, the press secretary of the Ministry of Homeland Security, Marsha Catron, denied information about the detention of Islamic extremists in Texas. A spokesman for the Department of Public Security of Arizona Damon Cecil has not confirmed the presence of ISIS on the US-Mexican border. According to the publication Newsweek, only three terrorists illegally came to the United States from the territory of Mexico in 1984. There was a case of detention of representatives of the terrorist organization Hezbollah on the border with Mexico, but not ISIS. Terrorists come to the US, having visas, not to attract the attention of law enforcement agencies.

The ambiguous information of Republicans about ISIS in Mexico quickly became the property of American mass culture. New American action movie "Sicario-2," the Italian director Stefano Sollim, shows how suicide bombers cross the US-Mexican border with the support of one of the drug cartels and arrange explosions in Texas. It seems that the current administration is trying in every possible way to find an excuse for tightening the migration regime. As former US President George W. Bush jumped President Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003 under the pretext of searching for biological weapons in Iraq during the military operation, so his current colleague Donald Trump is fighting illegal migration on the border with Mexico and uses the theme of possible terrorist threat prevention.

Related: Trump calls US migration legislation “the dumbest in the world”

Still, Trump stepped on the rake of George W. Bush. Both the military operation in Iraq in 2003-11 and the policy of "zero tolerance" became the object of large-scale criticism in the United States and abroad. UN Secretary-General António Guterres criticized Trump's migration policy and stressed that families of migrants should be preserved in a holistic way so as not to injure children. The leader of the opposition Democratic Party Hillary Clinton considers the policy of "zero tolerance" unimaginably terrible. Prosecutors from 18 states, dominated by Democrats, prepared a lawsuit on the policy of "zero tolerance" Trump.


Even Republicans are critical of the division of migrant families. In both chambers of the US Congress, options have been worked out for the reunification of families of illegal immigrants. The leader of the Republican majority in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, said that all Republicans support the preservation of the unity of families of illegal immigrants and advocate that parents with children are held in custody. The leader of the Democratic minority in the Senate Chuck Schumer did not support the initiative of the Republicans and urged Trump to personally end the division of families. June 20, the American president signed a new decree, which provided for the preservation of the integrity of illegally married families, but did not abolish the policy of "zero tolerance". Republicans understand that the division of families did not affect the reduction in the flow of illegal immigrants in the United States. Of the 3,226 existing beds in the detention centers for illegal immigrants, 2,623 places have already been filled. Tent camps are not designed to contain so many children. According to the Ministry of Homeland Security, 500 children were reunited with their parents.

Related: The dark history behind Trump’s inflammatory language

However, Trump already gets the genie out of the bottle. Opponents of Trump still went out to protest, so that the criticism of the president did not subside. The political crisis that broke out in the United States around the division of illegal families is beneficial for Democrats. Among the protesters' slogans were calls not to vote in the Congressional elections in November this year. According to a survey of the CBS, 67% of Americans consider the separation of illegally married families unacceptable. On the eve of elections, Democrats want to enlist the support of all those who are against the policy of "zero tolerance". Against the backdrop of the hysteria that the protestors have bred, the achievements of the Republican administration will dim, including the liberalization of taxation and business activity in the United States. Trump sacrificed Republican political dividends for the sake of combating illegal migration. Democrats have traditionally built their programs on the idea of protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, while the "zero tolerance" policy creates suitable conditions for this.

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