DACA/DREAM Frontera Fund News Trump Watch

While Children Are Separated at the Border, Congress Tries to Change Immigration in the U.S.

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Photo credit: US Customs and Border Protection
Carmen Cornejo
Written by Carmen Cornejo

During the past week, many people and organizations, including the United Nations, have raised their voices in condemnation of the separation of asylum-seeking families at the border and within the U.S.

According to this article from the BBC, 2,000 children have been separated from their families in six weeks.

The Trump administration is creating gulags for children of parents seeking asylum.

The clamor has been such that the Trump administration has been expressing conflicting statements, from blaming Democrats to denying it is a policy the DHS is implementing. On Sunday evening, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen declared on Twitter: “We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period.”

Sure. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that this was policy in May.

This extreme policy is happening amidst Congressional efforts to introduce two immigration bills that resulted after Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and a group of moderate Republicans agreed on certain main points, such as finding a permanent solution for DACA-DREAMers.

But make no mistake about it. While Trump is holding children and DACA-DREAMers hostage, he is negotiating in the House to make immigration paths narrower and trying to get the money for the border wall we knew Mexico wouldn’t pay for.

Trump already signaled that he will be inclined to sign only the most restrictive bill.

Both bills won’t count on the support of the Democrats. They are eliminating legal immigration pathways such as the visa lottery and family reunification and could significantly tighten asylum.

And the DACA-DREAM provisions? They have a long way to go to find support outside hardliners in the GOP.

Regarding asylum seekers, Vox  reported that “the bill’s sponsors falsely claimed their bill would prevent the government from separating families at the border. But the bill actually goes in the other direction, cracking down on families and other asylum seekers.” The most extreme bill proposes to limit asylum, sending asylum seekers back to Mexico (even when migrants are from Central America) and allows Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain children and parents indefinitely. Yes, indefinitely.

And as always, more money for the border wall is thrown into the mix.

It is doubtful that even the less restrictive immigration bill will pass and even less likely that Trump would contemplate signing it, making the prospects for the immigrant community very bleak.

This will be a long summer full of heartache and indignities.