From his first day in office, the Trump administration’s immigration policies have been exercises in deliberate cruelty. Crafted by white nationalists advisors like Stephen Miller, their plans have been specifically designed to inflict as much suffering, trauma, injury, and loss of life as they possibly can on the vulnerable and innocent immigrants who risk life and limb to seek their chance at the American dream.
A three-judge federal appeals court panel has abruptly put a stop to the Trump administration’s latest efforts to put immigrants in the most dangerous situation they possibly can. The deviously named “Migrant Protection Protocols” program — also known as “Remain In Mexico” — revolves around sending immigrants to Mexico to await the outcome of their hearings and has predictably created a humanitarian crisis.
ACLU lawyer Judy Rabinovitz announced that “The court forcefully rejected the Trump administration’s assertion that it could strand asylum seekers in Mexico and subject them to grave danger.”
Specifically, District Judge William A. Fletcher said the policy “violates the “non-refoulement” principle in international and U.S. law of not returning asylum-seekers to places where they may face persecution, and that a 1996 law the administration has been citing to defend the legality of the program does not allow officials to return all asylum-seekers to countries that border the U.S. like Mexico,” according to CBS News.
59,000 immigrants have been deposited in dangerous Mexican border towns, overburdening local services which cannot provide shelter, food, water, or protection for all of them.
Many vulnerable migrants are rendered homeless and become easy prey for the cartel gangsters which run wild in northern Mexico. Out of the nearly sixty thousand migrants, there have been at least 816 confirmed murders, rapes, and kidnappings amongst them, including 201 kidnappings or attempted kidnappings of children. 1 in 4 migrants report being threatened with violence.
With no legal representation and no prospects, some abandon their claims and return to their home countries, preferring to risk their lives again and return to the chaos that drove them away in the first place than remain in hellish limbo. The consequences of leaving, especially in El Salvador, can be fatal; hundreds of deported migrants have been reported to have been killed or abused upon returning.
The MPP policy, which began in January 2019, is the demonic successor to the Trump administration’s horrifying 2018 “child separation policy,” in which immigrant families were deliberately separated from their children before being incarcerated in border concentration camps in a monstrous effort to intimidate immigrants into not attempting to cross the border.
5,500 children were separated from their families and caged with other children; another two to three thousand may have been separated before the official beginning of the “zero tolerance” policy.
No preparations were made to eventually reunite the families with their children, who were placed in overcrowded detention centers and subjected to abuse, exploitation, and dehumanizing conditions by private prison contractors and the jack-booted thugs of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
The Trump team bowed to public outcry and political pressure and ended the policy in June 2018 after permanently traumatizing thousands of immigrant children. Six months later, they began the “Remain in Mexico” policy, shifting the onus of cruelty off of ICE and giving it to the cartel gangsters of northern Mexico.
Confusion is now breaking out at the border as immigrants plead for asylum with the news that the MPP program has been declared illegal.
More immigrants in MPP are showing up at the bridge. They’re unsure of what to do or what’s going to happen. They say people at the camp are also restless and desperate for information. pic.twitter.com/BBmWD8ugkU
— Adolfo Flores (@aflores) February 28, 2020
Unfortunately, the administration is expected to appeal the decision and can likely count on the conservative-strangled Supreme Court to rubber-stamp it once and for all.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.