A key campaign pledge of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump was to enforce immigration laws and secure the border with a wall. Although President Trump has faced obstruction in building that promised wall, his administration is cracking down on illegal immigration nonetheless.
The Washington Times reported on a major immigration enforcement policy announcement Monday from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement head Thomas Homan near the border in San Diego.
The new policy, which is significantly stricter than that of the Obama administration, is that any and all illegal immigrants caught crossing the border illicitly will be charged with illegally entering the country, and parents who bring children across with them could face additional charges of human smuggling. The parents will also be detained — separate from their children — while awaiting a hearing on the charges.
Previously, individuals caught crossing the border were given a deportation hearing date in civil court and released, upon which they typically disappeared into the country and rarely showed up for their court date to eventually be deported. But that has now changed.
“Our goal is to have the whole world know this border is not open. Don’t come unlawfully,” Sessions said.
Illegal entry into the country is a misdemeanor crime punishable by up to six months in jail, and illegal entry after a prior deportation is a felony that can net two years in prison. If major criminal charges were the reason for that prior deportation, the prison sentence can be up to 10 years.
Illegal immigrant advocates immediately cried foul at the tougher enforcement policies, particularly in regard to the separation of parents from children.
Angelica Salas, executive director for the Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights, went so far as to call this move “by far the most wicked and cruel” action taken by the Trump administration.
“The capricious and ruthless nature of this administration’s immigration policy against undocumented and lawful immigrants is clearly visible when even the most vulnerable of the vulnerable — children — become targets,” Salas told the Times. “This policy is nothing more than red meat to an insatiable anti-immigrant base.”
But for all of the outraged howling over illegal immigrant parents being separated from their children when found in violation of the law, liberals rarely utter a peep when American citizens who violate other laws are separated from their own children when sent to jail, a hypocritcal duality pointed out by acting ICE director Homan.
He said blame for the separation of parents and children at the border fell on the parents themselves who tested the system and failed. Homan said he saw no reason why they should be treated any differently than any other parent charged or convicted of other crimes.
This crackdown on enforcement will undoubtedly lead to larger caseloads for already backlogged immigration judges and federal prosecutors, but Border Patrol agents will likely be pleased their enforcement efforts will finally be backed up by serious consequences.
Indeed, under the prior catch-and-release policies, it was not at all uncommon for illegal immigrants to cross the border, get caught, get deported and then cross again, with many individuals racking up multiple — even dozens in some cases — deportations on their records.
Border Patrol agents and border security experts believe this new policy of charges backed by detention will serve to discourage illegal immigrants from attempting to illicitly cross the border in the first place, much less a second time after deportation, since they know they will face real consequences for their actions.
Trump has not given up on his promise to secure the nation with a wall along the southern border, and will continue to wrangle with Congress to secure the necessary funding to fully construct that vital security measure.
In the meantime, his administration has sent a loud and clear message to the entire world that illegally crossing the once-open border will not be tolerated, and those who are caught doing so will finally pay a real price for their criminal actions.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.