One way to think about the tens of thousands of people, most of them families with children or children traveling alone, who want to get into the United States across our southern border with Mexico is to divide them into three groups.
Group one are the people who want to enter “in the legal way.” They apply for asylum at designated ports of entry. It is the policy of the Trump administration to process just a few dozen applications a day which makes the wait for the people who legally registered weeks or months long. For most of these families and youngsters this means weeks or months in shelters, churches, school gymnasiums or out in the rough.
Group two are the people who do not wait, who cross the border illegally and then give themselves up as quickly and peaceably as they can to the first Border Patrol or ICE officer they see. Their applications for asylum are every bit as legal as the ones coming through so slowly at the ports of entry, although for many of them, a misdemeanor criminal charge for illegal entry could hurt their chances to avoid deportation.
Group three, thankfully, just a tiny fraction of the migrants, cross illegally and then try to flee American law enforcement. They, a veteran Border Patrol officer told Albuquerque Journal reporter Angela Kocherga are the ones to worry about. They’re the felons.
The best place to intercept felonious border-crossers is at or near the border. But more and more Border Patrol personnel have been withdrawn from front-line duty to deal with assembling, transporting, re-housing and doing the paperwork for that much larger, and growing, group of “give ups.”
In other words, the cruel, designed-to-be-discouraging Trump policy of slowing down processing and putting thousands of legal applicants for asylum on infinite hold is actually encouraging less patient people to cross illegally, which diverts the Border Patrol and ICE from their most important job – protecting America from that very small number of people who cross the border to do seriously illegal things.
A day in the life of Planet Trump.
Roberto Rosales writes “I currently work as a staff photographer for the Albuquerque Journal, New Mexico’s largest newspaper where I concentrate on issues such as immigration and breaking news. Twice a week I teach a photography course at the University of New Mexico’s Interdisciplinary Film and Digital Media (IFDM) department and occasionally photojournalism courses in the Communication and Journalism dept. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art and a Masters in Art Education.”