Watch: Immigrants Say Fear of Separation Means They Won't Cross Border


The value of deterring illegal immigrants from trying to attempt a dangerous journey into the United States doesn’t seem to be that high for liberals. That’s true even when those immigrants are bringing young children along on a journey often facilitated by human traffickers.

Instead, the only thing that we discuss are the psychological “scars” suffered by children who are apprehended at the border and separated from their parents, even as the Trump administration tries to fix the problem.

Never mind the potential physical and psychological scars inflicted by a horrifying journey — that won’t score political points toward the reinstatement of a catch-and-release policy for illegal aliens. In short, deterrence not only isn’t a factor for liberals, it shouldn’t even be discussed.

This is problematic, if only because deterrence actually works.

In fact, it’s the most effective way to ensure that children aren’t separated from their parents or suffer emotional pain from a harsh journey that takes them away from home and often puts them in unspeakable danger.

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But don’t take my word for it. Take the words of potential migrants who have been considering trying to enter the United States illegally.

This report from Fox News shows what many of them are thinking about the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy regarding those caught crossing the southern border.

“See, I have two kids,” one woman told a reporter speaking through an intepreter. “They’ll take them away and send them to a shelter. If it comes to a choice where I have to choose between my kids and crossing, I’ll keep my kids.”

Now, separating families likely shouldn’t be a goal of either the Trump administration or of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. However, the point is that it has had a deterrent effect.

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Besides this mother’s admission, which is a telling statement of just how effective strict border enforcement can be, there are several interesting things to note about the video, particularly since it takes place in the port of entry in Tijuana.

One of the gentlemen being interviewed is from Cameroon, and he says he’s seeking asylum because someone wanted to kill him back in his home country.

“I don’t believe the United States will allow someone to kill me,” he can be heard saying.

No, and Mexico likely wouldn’t either, at least when it comes to the individual he’s claiming “credible fear” of. This is the point of asylum under international law: To escape a situation where one has a credible fear for one’s life and into another country where that credible fear doesn’t exist.

Asylum isn’t supposed to involve venue-shopping. When you leave your country due to those aforementioned circumstances, the point is to find the first country you can enter where those circumstances don’t exist.

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Cameroonian ne’er-do-wells are unlikely to be able to track this gentleman to Mexico — or, on the off chance they would be able to, they wouldn’t have any less trouble finding him there than finding him in the United States.

The same thing can be said for the current influx of asylum-seekers from Central America. If you feel yourself under threat in El Salvador or Guatemala, that threat isn’t likely to follow you into Mexico.

The fact that they’re still willing to make the trek much farther north indicates this isn’t about a credible fear, but more about a credible belief that getting into the United States, however they do it, isn’t a particularly difficult task.

As the interviews with this women showed, that impression appears to be changing. Negative consequences really can discourage unwanted behavior.

And that’s not a bad thing.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture