Zero Tolerance

Trump's Zero Tolerance Cruelty at the Border

In the name of punishing minor border violations, his administration has become lawless


Almost every president in the last 40 years has declared zero-tolerance for something or the other to advance his pet cause. For most people, this is a feel-good

Border families
David McNew Reuters via Newscom

slogan that doesn't mean much. That, however, is mistaken.

Zero tolerance is a uniquely horrible approach that has wreaked havoc wherever and whenever it's been deployed whether to fight drugs (Ronald Reagan), school violence (Bill Clinton), or, now, immigration (Donald Trump). (Colleges and companies too have ruined lives and upended livelihoods by taking a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment, racism etc.)

Its fundamental premise, I note in The Week, is that the cause these policies aim to advance is so righteous that authorities have impunity to go after minor offenses with maximal force. It hands those in position of power carte blanche to act lawlessly themselves to make everyone else live by the rules: Rule of law for ordinary mortals, but more power for them, the exact opposite of what is supposed to happen in a democratic republic.

Hence, toddlers who bring toy guns to schools—or non-violent drug offenders like Alice Johnson whose life-sentence Trump just commuted because Kim Kardashian was moved by her plight—get savagely prosecuted while the authorities make out like bandits through civil asset forfeiture laws.

So no one should be surprised that when the world's most powerful leader deploys these policies against the world's most powerless people—migrants—the results are deeply ugly as people fleeing violence and poverty are treated like Pablo Escobar, thrown in detention camps, their kids ripped from them.

Go here to read the whole thing.

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  1. Oh, its Dalmia, i will wait for comments because the piece is shit.

    1. I wonder if she’s even aware that her articles aren’t even remotely libertarian, and most here vehemently disagree with them. It seems like she’s severely butt hurt and sick of whitey sticking it to her… lol

    2. indeed has Dalmia ever once distinguished between legal migrants, admitted as part of democratic and lawful processes considering approached numbers and illegal aliens who just jump to the head of the line?

      this whole panty twisting “kids ripped from parents” and “OMG they are separating children” reflects what? We know what it reflects: the open borders strategy asserting if one family member gets over the border by any means, we now have to take in their whole family — else be advocating “ripping children from their parents.”

  2. Ugh, it’s way too early for popcorn. [uncaps flask]

  3. Isn’t zero tolerance more a problem of too much law than it is lawlessness?

    1. This. You want more “tolerance”, change the laws. Don’t bitch and moan when they are actually adhered to.

      1. Democrats helped draft and get passed many of these laws and now are upset because the laws are being enforced.

        1. This meeting of Libertarians For Bigoted, Authoritarian Immigration Policies And Practices should be a good one.

          Carry on, clingers.

          So far as your betters permit, as usual.

          1. You know for a Reverend that supposed to be a positive influence on others, you sure are a jerk

          2. Nanny-Staters…the true clingers.

          3. *smooch*

            Your hatred fills me with glee.

          4. Rev Arthurr “US gun murder has been rising for decades” (it in fact has plunged) Kirkland living in his fantasy land.

            Hey Arthur, still clinging to your claim that we would see Hillary in the White House? (ouch!)

  4. The only immigration policy that makes sense is open borders. If you oppose open borders, you’re not only a terrible excuse for a libertarian, you’re a terrible excuse for a human being.


    1. highly inappropriate comment. “if you don’t agree with me you’re a horrible person” is the sort of disingenuous appeal to emotional/moral high-grounding that got us to where we are in politics today. And no, in fact, that isn’t the only policy that makes sense by a long shot, and no, libertarianism doesn’t have to imply any sort of hegemony of thought like you’re looking for (in fact quite the opposite).

    2. OBL that’s the most idiotic thing I’ve read in weeks…..months maybe.

      1. The general consensus here is that OpenBorders is a satire account. If you stick around, you should get a chuckle or two out of he/she/Chinese bot.

        1. OK. I’ve been here awhile but didn’t link that name to anything in my brain.

    3. OBL you are right! A true prophet.

      I propose a new solution… NEW STATES. Lets just have Mexico and Guatemala join the USA, give them all full rights as Americans while also allowing them to retain their language and unique, beautiful culture. In other words, let them vote and get all the other sweet stuff that comes from being Americans while shunning any kind of integration strategies because they violate the NAP. It solves the problem of making these people move to gain our great American benefits and also extends our beautiful tree of liberty to millions of new people. In this way America can save the world.

      Ultimately borders are dumb anyways, so why not just do away with them by expanding. Who knows, maybe in a few years Africa will join the party and Somalia will want to join our union too!

      1. It’s imperialism when Americans take over Mexico.
        It’s immigration when Mexicans take over America.

        1. Nail…head

  5. But none of this compares to the hideousness transpiring at the border… The human toll of all this is simply unimaginable… a house of horrors that if allowed to persist will rival the stain of the Japanese internment during World War II…

    No tortured phrase is too hyperbolic to employ in the service of rational argument against the horror of returning people to their country of origin.

    1. Hahaha.

    2. This is why I only read the comments on Shikha articles

  6. Roper: So now you’d give the Devil benefit of law!
    More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
    Roper: I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
    More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you ? where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast ? man’s laws, not God’s ? and if you cut them down ? and you’re just the man to do it ? d’you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.

    Right about now, Harvey Weinstein ought to be explaining that passage to Starbucks. You made the rules when you were in charge, it never occurred to you that you weren’t always going to be in charge.

  7. Firstly, the whole “ripping kids away” thing has been shown to be fake news … it hasn’t happened, and to the extent there is any family separation occurring it’s not unique to this administration, and is enforcement of policy created during previous administrations. Secondly, “libertarian” doesn’t mean “don’t believe in any borders or national sanctity” so this whole piece seems somewhat out of band to the style of thinking that is generally promulgated here. Third, I’m not sure what else one should expect when you have a finite-server queue system at a border, and a sudden mass-flood of people wanting to pass through such border appears … you can’t just say “oh gee we’re overwhelmed so let’s just give up and let them all pass”. Sadly, the reaction to mobbing the border is, yes, you’re going to have to wait at the border until the correct procedures for vetting migrants is followed.

    1. Good stuff Matt. Laws are laws……we have a lot of stupid ones but actually having a country, with borders, isn’t one of them. If you want to dissolve the country and the borders, try a constitutional amendment. See how far that goes.

      1. Getting a constitutional amendment is not possible for issues like border security and gun control so these supporters take routes like what we are seeing.

        1. Well, I would submit that a constitutional amendment is not possible for anything any more — we have become too fractured as a country and the mobilization/communication process for forces opposed to ANYTHING has become well-honed — but I was just bringing up what one would have to do to dissolve the borders (as opposed to just ignoring them).

          1. Constitutional Amendments are supposed to be difficult.

            We would be less fractured as a country and have less problems if there were less laws because most laws would be unconstitutional.

            Imagine how many people’s lives would be better because the Controlled Substances Acts was struck down early. Millions less people pushed through the criminal justice system. Thousands less killed by police for victimless crimes.

            1. The desire for a national solution to all issues is asinine and destructive.

  8. The best way to rid of a bad law is to enforce it uniformly.

    Or is government better when it picks and chooses on their whim?

    1. Let’s start with obstruction of justice and witness tampering, because watching Paul Manafort flip should make for great summer fun . . .

      1. A Russia Collusion Truther!

        All the Leftist hatreds and delusions in one vitriolic package!

        Luv ya!

      2. you will end up with 99% of the DNC in jail if those are your criteria!

  9. Another Shecky article. Speaking of cruelty…..

  10. In the bizarro world of Shikha Dalmia- Zero Tolerance is Cruelty and punishing minor border violations is lawlessness.

  11. From the comments, I’m getting the sense that a) nobody read the article, b) nobody wants to take the plunge, and c) nobody really cares what Shikha has to say because we’ve heard it all before.

    Somebody should tell Shikha that once you go extreme, you have to keep pushing boundaries, or you become boring. So, what’s more extreme than the Fugitive Slave Act? Go from there.

    1. Acting like a fugitive slave?

    2. From the comments, I’m getting the sense that a) nobody read the article

      Duh. Only FAGGITS read.

    3. I read the article but didn’t find it persuasive. I skipped past the parts where she talked about “zero tolerance” policies for drugs and violence in school because that had nothing to do with immigration. The last third or so of the article did raise some points about the administration prosecuting those who entered the country illegally so that if they reentered later, they could be charged with a more serious offense (I don’t have a problem with that) and raised some concerns that because of the sheer number of cases, that judges were trying people in groups (with each individual still having to plead separately). There was also a concern raised that because of things such as the language barrier and lack of education/familiarity with the US legal system that some people who are facing deportation might not fully understand or appreciate what they’re pleading to and what it might mean in the future if they try to reenter. I understand those concerns but I’m also someone who thinks that the official language of our country should be English and while we might offer translators or translate documents in other languages, it’s not an obligation and if you don’t learn the language before you come here, then that’s on you.

    4. It’s just that there are valid arguments and good debate to be had about the merits of immigration and open borders, but she goes and uses the most dishonest and ridiculous arguments.

    5. And you’d be wrong. The author is a moron, Irregardless of politics. Though worse, she’s a progressive moron writing for a “libertarian” publication.

      Example from the article:

      They are turning America’s southern border into a house of horrors that if allowed to persist will rival the stain of the Japanese internment during World War II.

      If she cannot tell the difference between enforcing border security and putting citizens in jail due only to their heritage, then why read further (though I did read, as that quote is the final paragraph)?

      For a political writer not writing for Slate/etc to write such idiocy… It’s equivalent to a science writer arguing the Earth is flat.

      And if that happened and you read the flat-earth article, would you be likely to dismiss them in the future?

      Or argue to those who think this science writer is stupid, that it’s really the readers fault for not seeing the nuance?

      For me – once someone has proven themselves that stupid, entertaining or trying nuanced debates about their screeds gives them more weight than they deserve.

      Maybe you’re different.

      1. I found a little bio of her. Here it is.

        Money shot:
        She considers herself to be a progressive libertarian and an agnostic with Buddhist longings and a Sufi soul.

        A verified Progressitarian.

        I wonder if she’s a Bannon mole sent to thoroughly discredit Open Borders Libertarianism.

        1. Most of us probably guessed that Shikha was a lefty. It’s funy that she confirmed it.

          It’s also telling that she cannot even be honest about her political beliefs. Progressivism and Libertarianism are mutually exclusive.

          I have never seen a Libertarian article form Shikha.

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  13. Shikha. She’s back. In Pog form.

  14. “In the name of punishing minor border violations, his administration has become lawless”

    That’s rich.

    Following the law is lawless, from someone who supports the illegal invaders of the US.

    “Trump’s Zero Tolerance Cruelty at the Border”

    The only argument Reason has left is “I’ll call you a meany if you oppose having your country invaded.”

  15. Miraculously, the article was worth reading after all.

    It brings tidings of great joy!

    Trump and Sessions have found a way to fight “catch and release”, and are actually using it! Republicans finally using their *lawful* powers to their advantage: So Much Winning!

    Unlike previous administrations, which handed first-time border-crossers to ICE for deportation, the Trump administration has pledged to criminally prosecute “100 percent of illegal southwest border crossings” before deporting them ? despite the fact that immigration prosecutions already constitute half of all federal prosecutions. Even asylum seekers, a group protected by both domestic and international law, are not spared if they are caught between ports.

    The point of prosecuting prior to deportation is to create a criminal record against these folks so that if they try and enter again, they can be charged with a felony and thrown in jail, ending so called “catch and release.”

    1. Even asylum seekers, a group protected by both domestic and international law, are not spared if they are caught between ports.

      Incorrect. The vast majority of asylum claimants are not actual refugees or asylum qualified person under international and US law.

      The point of prosecuting prior to deportation is to create a criminal record against these folks so that if they try and enter again, they can be charged with a felony and thrown in jail, ending so called “catch and release.”

      Incorrect. the only time felony issue comes up is a) illegals who commit felonies crimes once here being protected by “sanctuary” cities and counties; and b) Coyotes and human trafficking rings that are running operations to bring in illegals, often killing them by accident or even on purpose.

      there is no felony prosecution of persons simply crossing the border or caught here based on crossing or illegal status alone

  16. What makes the Japanese (and some German/Italian) internment wrong is that they were US citizens and had rights as US citizens. These people do not as they are foreign nationals.

    The US did much, much worse than internment to foreign nationals in WW2

  17. a house of horrors that if allowed to persist will rival the stain of the Japanese internment during World War II

    Oh please, interment camps run by the Japanese had 48 times the death rates. in fact internees of Japanese decent in the US did not have any different death rates than the US general public.

    You judge these kind of things by their international context at the time. Canada interned Japanese. Everyone interned possible security risks. It was wrong to do so to US citizens of Japanese decent who were not citizens of the empire of Japan. But hardly a horror.

    The US was fighting REAL horrors. The Soviets had switched sides but of course they are the ones who enabled world war two by siding with Hitler at the beginning. The soviets intention murdered civilians in the tens of millions, the Japanese more, and the Nazi even more.

    In total war hindsight, fighting against regimes that were committing democide even before combat in WWII and could fully be expected to do so after if they won, it is perfectly approaches to relativize.

    What does large scale confining and/or deporting illegal aliens, currently practiced TODAY by Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK as well as the US have to do with the portion of Japanese internees who where US citizens improperly detained? these are profoundly different issues.

  18. or non-violent drug offenders like Alice Johnson whose life-sentence Trump just commuted because Kim Kardashian was moved by her plight?get savagely prosecuted while the authorities make out like bandits through civil asset forfeiture laws

    Thanks to Eric holder promulgating lower changing recommendations for distribution levels of certain narcotics Dylan Roof was able to buy a gun. He would have been NICS hit if his offense had been year earlier under charging guidelines.

    Alice Johnson was not about zero tolerance. That is an absurd claim. She was not merely a non violent drug user, or small one time seller, but head of a huge cocaine distribution and money laundering ring that ran years.. She ran an operation that distributed not grams, not kilograms but TONs of cocaine.

    I think we are all glad she was a model prisoner. She was NOT sentences to life without parole and it is likely given probation averages she would have been released. Thousands of life sentence drug sellers from that period who were not directly violent (but responsible for a massive amount of employee and indirect violence) do get out and are getting out on probation and state governor commutations.

    I think Trump made the right move setting an example governors and parole boards can follow, but lets face it, her 20 years imprisonment was hardly a miscarriage of justice, nor was in in any way shape or form a “zero tolerance’ policy derived situation.

  19. Zero tolerance for victimless crimes is a disaster.

    Zero tolerance for crimes with victims, like murder, rape, burglary, theft, etc. is the right policy.

    Illegal immigration has victims and should not be tolerated.

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