Border patrol

Trump's Over-The-Top Immigration Enforcement Tactics Might Finally Trigger Reform

But cruelty has been part and parcel of America's border policy for 150 years

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President Donald Trump has taken to calling the situation at the border not just a security "crisis" but also a "humanitarian" one. He should

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know because he created it.

But even before Trump's zero-tolerance enforcement policy unleashed new horrors, inhumanity at the border was part and parcel of America's immigration enforcement. The silver lining, however, is that Trump's open embrace of such policies is inviting a level of scrutiny—and generating a level of disgust—that might pave the way for reform.

Hardly a day goes by when some shocking story doesn't break about this administration's treatment of immigrants—or suspected immigrants. ICE recently detained a 27-year-old decorated Marine vet with mental health issues who is an American citizen. Why? Because he is Hispanic so it likely assumed he was here illegally.

It is also becoming apparent that the administration separated far more than "just" 2,700 migrant kids from Central American parents seeking asylum as originally thought. Indeed, we are finding out now that separations started as soon as President Trump entered the Oval Office and before former Attorney General Jeff Sessions even formally embraced the policy. Worse, the administration failed to keep proper records when taking away the kids and, therefore, we can't be sure it'll ever be able to reunite all of them.

As if all this is not bad enough, it implemented its policy of mass detaining children and parents without proper preparations. Hence, it is housing many of them in constantly lit, freezing-cold holding pens meant for drug dealers. The migrants reportedly sleep wrapped in thin blankets on mats or aluminum foil on cement floors with poor food and scarce running water to shower or brush their teeth.

Toddlers were being herded in hastily constructed "tender-age shelters" or equally horrible facilities. Abuse is reportedly rampant. A state review of a Virginia detention facility found that immigration authorities used restraining techniques on children that included shackling and strapping them to chairs and placing mesh bags over their heads and sometimes even sending them into solitary confinement if they misbehaved. Videos of an Arizona facility show staffers shoving kids and dragging them across rooms by their hair.

The sad part, however, is that the Trump administration isn't the first to use such tactics—it has merely scaled them up. Every president over the last century and a half has allowed similar abuse.

The country's reign of terror on the southern border has its genesis in 1924 when Congress passed its first major piece of restrictionist legislation that ended what until then had been the unfettered movement of people back and forth from Mexico. This law made it a crime to enter the country from anywhere except designated ports. And to enforce this provision, Greg Grandin points out in The Intercept, the border patrol relied on recruits from the resurgent Ku Klux Klan who "beat, shot, and hung migrants with regularity" along the Texas and California border.

President Dwight Eisenhower's notorious Operation Wetback in 1954 took matters to a whole new level. A former general, Eisenhower hired military brass to use military tactics not just at the border but in the interior—inaugurating the wretched policy of interior enforcement— rounding up and mass deporting over 800,000 unauthorized Mexicans in one fell swoop.

But Eisenhower, to his credit, also attempted to address the undocumented problem at its root by expanding the bracero—guest worker— program to allow more Mexicans to legally work in the United States. That helped reduce abuse—until President Lyndon Johnson, the paragon of progressive virtue, scrapped the program in 1965, setting the stage for future crackdowns and renewed abuse that provides an important backdrop to the horrors we are witnessing today.

Much before the Trump administration embraced child separation as official policy, border patrol was already using it unofficially in the 1970s, Grandin notes by pointing to a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times investigative series from the early 1980s. When agents encountered a family at the border, they reportedly nabbed the youngest member first because that would induce the whole family to turn itself in rather than try to flee. They allegedly threatened to take kids away from moms "forever" if moms didn't confess that they were trying to enter illegally—and when they did, they'd take the kids anyway, placing them in foster homes or deporting them or letting them languish in jails. Beatings and rape of girls as young as 12 were reportedly common. Border patrol even allegedly traded young Mexican women they caught at the border to the Los Angeles Rams for season tickets.

Between 1982 and 1990, Mexico City sent 24 protests to the State Department on behalf of Mexicans injured and murdered by border patrol. But instead of addressing these complaints, President Bill Clinton criminalized immigration further when he pushed—and signed—the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act that made it easier to deport ever more immigrants for ever more minor infractions.

Immigration enforcement agencies went to town after this law was passed. Another Intercept investigation based on the account of a CBP whistleblower who worked for the agency between 2009 and 2011 paints a truly horrific picture. The whistleblower claimed that he witnessed agents shoot an unarmed woman and threaten to rape children. One agent allegedly chided him for offering water to a severely dehydrated 4-year-old and his migrant mom whom they picked up during a patrol. The agent reportedly took the bottle away from the child before he could take a sip saying "no amnesty here."

In the name of zero tolerance, the Trump administration has started using anti-harboring laws to prosecute humanitarian workers like Scott Warren who leave drinking water tanks for migrants crossing the harsh Arizona desert. But the whistleblower noted, even before Trump arrived, CBP agents would reportedly vandalize water tanks that folks like Warren left in the desert in the face of an alarming spike in dehydration deaths among border crossers. Worse, the agents would allegedly dump even migrants' own water and food and leave them stranded in the desert.

An ACLU investigation last summer revealed shocking neglect and abuse of children between 5 and 17 by Customs and Border Protection between 2009 and 2014 when Barack Obama was president. A quarter of the children interviewed reported physical, including sexual, abuse and half reported verbal abuse like death threats. Stun guns and worse were reportedly routinely used to restrain kids.

But Obama's dulcet tones lulled watchdog agencies into complacency even as he deported record numbers of immigrants. Trump's harsh talk and open contempt for immigrants, on the other hand, is mobilizing them into action.

The ACLUs and Intercepts of the world have doubled down on investigating the dark underbelly of immigration enforcement under Trump, publishing several exposes over the last year. Progressives who were content to look the other way when enforcement excesses were taking place under Obama are now suddenly woke and spearheading a call to abolish ICE, the kind of thing that used to be confined to "wacko" libertarian circles.

And it is not just the posture of activists that is shifting—public opinion is too. Americans are becoming more protective of immigrants since Trump entered the Oval Office. Gallup polls show that a record high of 75 percent agree that immigration is a "good thing" for the country— up four points in the last two years.

All of this might finally cue up the country for a top-to-bottom cleanup of border enforcement once Trump leaves the Oval Office. His malice toward immigrants might achieve what good intentions can't.

This column originally appeared in The Week

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  1. Now coming to an ICE subcontractor gulag / concentration camp near you; illegal sub-humans can also be raped or molested, and ICE doesn’t care!

    WHEN will the inhumanity stop? Oh, wait, I forgot, they’re not humans, they’re illegal sub-humans!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..93b2054628

    ICE Let Sexual Assault Reports Slide At Migrant Detention Centers Run By Contractors: Inspector General

    1. The report said one facility, for example, was granted a waiver that allowed detainees with serious criminal histories to be held near those with nonviolent offenses.

      Yeah! Build a wall! Make them pay for… wait no… I mean let the violent criminals in! There are no illegal sub-humans!

      1. You think That is bad, Orange Hitler and literally everyone else before him with an ounce of common sense and decency has forcibly separated children from potentially violent adults and not allowed them to be caged together in tight quarters. ORANGE MAN BAD!!!

      2. I thought the worst thing in the world was “separating families”.

    2. illegal sub-humans

      Keep at it. One day people might start thinking you’re not deranged.

      1. Hitler blamed it on the illegal sub-humans of his day (Jews, Gypsies, etc.), and Trump and Trumpistas do the same things today. Find scapegoats, and ride them for political power.

        WHO is deranged, those who do deranged things, or those who point it out?

        1. WHO is deranged, those who do deranged things, or those who point it out?

          Those who use the phrase ‘illegal sub-humans’.

          1. I see you just used the phrase in your post! The Speech Police will nab you now very, very soon!

            1. You are such a shrill bigot, sqrlsy

  2. I agree. There isn’t nearly enough heroin and fentanyl in this country. And what is here costs too damn much. Stop with this ‘secure the border’ crap.

  3. Read “The Grapes of Wrath”. Americans aren’t above treating other Americans like shit, even at internal borders.

    1. Fictional stories make great reasoning behind policy.

      1. You mean that “The Grapes of Wrath” was like science fiction-fantasy about magical lands in other galaxies, and had nothing to do with what actually happened in the here and now? Research the “Great Dust Bowl” and the policies of California and California towns and counties, towards immigrants from Oklahoma and other dust-bowled places, and you’ll find out that this was NOT science fiction here!

        1. Are you arguing it was NOT fiction?

          1. Draw yourself a Venn Diagram to clarify if need be, but utterly fantastical science fiction – fantasy is a SUBSET of fiction. There exists an animal called “realistic” or “highly fact-based” fiction, and that is the category into which falls this book, “The Grapes of Wrath”.

            The fact being illustrated in this fiction is, selfish and self-righteous people will lunge at the chance to elevate themselves on a pedestal, and cast inhumane abuse on those that they consider to be inferior. National borders, state borders, county borders, different sides of the railroad tracks, all the same, can be used for this purpose, is the only-slight addition made by “This Machine Chips Fascists”, in addition to the point(s) made by “The Grapes of Wrath”.

            1. So, we now need laws to deal with Moby Dick, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Les Miserables, and the entire Dickens ouvre

              It shall be illegal for any ghost, spirit, apparition, spectre, or revenant phantom to give guided tours thru space and time in the period from the 4th Thursday in November until the 1st of January, without a permit from the Secretary of Department of the Interior

              1. “So, we now need laws to deal with Moby Dick…”

                I read no further than that. By doing so, I have won the argument!

                NashTiger|2.5.19 @ 3:06PM|#

                SQRLSY One|2.5.19 @ 3:03PM|#

                NashTiger is a Superior Being,

                I stopped reading here. I assume you have capitulated

      2. LC, TMCF thinks it was a documentary.

    2. Read “The Grapes of Wrath”. Americans aren’t above treating other Americans like shit, even at internal borders.

      As long as it’s white-on-white and American-on-American deplorable behavior, it’s OK. If it’s something equally as prescient or socially applicable like Camp Of Saints then we should purge it from our libraries and consciousness per Shikha’s instructions.

      Because more bodies under one nation and telling people what books they should and shouldn’t read is what the open borders philosophy is all about.

    3. Okay, Public Policy should be driven by The Grapes of Wrath, The Handmaids Tale, and Machete, because – “it could happen”, but not by Kermit Gosnell, Kate Steinle, and MS-13

      gotcha

      1. NashTiger is a Superior Being, so, when combined with other voters who feel likewise, those who are born on the wrong side of the border by 5 yards, deserve to be treated like illegal sub-humans.

        Treatment of inferior, illegal sub-humans can legitimately include being sexually abused by the Superior Beings who imprison them, and that’s OK.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..93b2054628

        ICE Let Sexual Assault Reports Slide At Migrant Detention Centers Run By Contractors: Inspector General

        gotcha

        The non-fictional equivalent of “The Grapes of Wrath” DID HAPPEN, asshole!!!

        1. SQRLSY One|2.5.19 @ 3:03PM|#

          NashTiger is a Superior Being,

          I stopped reading here. I assume you have capitulated

          1. Also, if I write fiction about the NAZI v/s Jews holocaust, does that, then, mean that it is no longer legitimate to base public policy on trying to avoid another, similar holocaust? Because that is EXACTLY the equivalent of what you are saying with respect to “The Grapes of Wrath”!

            You are shooting down far worse cases of straw men than I am.

  4. Over the past 150 years, this country has been at the forefront in creating the most prosperous, innovative, and healthy civilization in the history of the world. The fact that outsiders don’t like the policies means absolutely nothing. Other countries had every opportunity to implement the same policies that the United States has.

    Other country’s bad ideas are their problem and theirs alone. If you want to import bad ideas at an increased rate you’re no longer going to maintain the ideas that made this country what it is today.

    1. For the same reasons, no American should be allowed to move out of a bad neighborhood or a corrupt city.

      1. Keeping commiefornians out is actually desirable

    2. Dumbass Shikha actually said 150 years, before starting her grocery list of atrocities in 1924.

      What were we doing before that? Giving away millions of acres of free land? Giving away free groceries so they’d vote for Tammany Hall? GOTDAMMIT, TRUMP!!

      1. When you major in semi-informed social outrage in college math is not going to be your strong suit.

  5. Trumps fault? I wasn’t aware that Donald Trump was personally organizing and funding caravans of thousands of Central Americans to flood the borders and fraudulently claim asylum. Thanks for clearing that up.

    1. Obama started to destroy this country and Hillary was committed to finishing the job and if they had, no one would want to come here legally or illegally.

  6. SCAAP Data Suggest Illegal Aliens Commit Crime at a Much Higher Rate Than Citizens and Lawful Immigrants

    https://tinyurl.com/ya28ouov

    Whatever happened to LoneWacko?

  7. We’re finally adding more fence to the 700 miles of border obstacles.

    MAGA!

    1. My Ass Genuinely Aches!!

      That what LC gets from his lovefest with Trump.

  8. Trump isn’t the first one to deploy cruel tactics.

    WHATABOUTISM ALERT

    1. Yeah, it’s hell, not to mention unfair, when you hold pretentious liberals to the same standards they set for others

  9. So Congress’ laws are fine. It’s Trump’s enforcement that’s the problem.

    1. That and Trump wanting to ADD more to the 700 miles of Fence, vehicles obstacles, and other border security.

    2. Sovereignty is so pre-Trump.

  10. The silver lining, however, is that Trump’s open embrace of such policies is inviting a level of scrutiny?and generating a level of disgust?that might pave the way for reform.

    I’ve often pointed out that the best aspect of Orange Hitler’s Presidency is that more people are realizing any form of border enforcement is inherently cruel, inhumane, and racist. Just a few years ago, Bernie Sanders was popular with many progressives despite making absurd claims like “open borders is a Koch Brothers proposal to import cheap labor” or something. But now nearly all my progressive friends have admitted he was wrong about that.

    In short, we are witnessing the emergence of a progressive / libertarian consensus that the only acceptable immigration policy is 100% open borders. I predict the 2020 Democratic nominee will campaign ? and win ? as an unapologetic advocate of the Koch / Reason immigration agenda.

    1. If it weren’t such a destructive ideology, the idea of open borders and free everything would be quite amusing. I wish I wasn’t going to have to pay for it because it would be endless amusement to watch lefties grapple with feeding and housing the world through force.

      If this is the democrat’s platform, it will be a real treat to watch Trump go Captain America on this progressive/ left libertarian wet dream. Oh the tears, oh the smirking, oh the outrage

      1. If this is the democrat’s platform, it will be a real treat to watch Trump go Captain America on this progressive/ left libertarian wet dream.

        The Democratic platform represents sensible, mainstream American values. The Republicans are the ones who have gotten extreme. Just consider what Shikha wrote: “Gallup polls show that a record high of 75 percent agree that immigration is a ‘good thing’ for the country? up four points in the last two years.” See? The #AbolishICE / open borders agenda is popular!

        Yeah, I’m not sure what “go Captain America” means, but I guarantee Drumpf won’t be reelected.

        1. I really don’t think that the majority of Americans are for a completely open border. Most wanting more fair immigration policies, yes, open border no.

        2. One more thing:
          “The Democratic platform represents sensible, mainstream American values”

          No, there is almost nothing sensible or mainstream about the Democratic platform, nor does it have anything resembling American values.

          List out the “Democratic platform” that is sensible and aligns with mainstream America.

        3. Yes, killing babies outside the mother’s body (and presumably therefore outside her choice?) is a mainstream value. But we need to stop these 122nd trimester immigration abortions. When you hear that ICE is making them comfortable so a discussion can ensue, you know they are up to the Devil’s business…

        4. “The Democratic platform represents sensible, mainstream American values.”
          Had to stop, there.
          The tears pouring out, from laughter, made reading any further impossible.
          The demoncrap platform: Let’s kill off all our own offspring, even after birth, so that we can import a whole new electorate, that is too stupid to realize they will never attain the liberty this country was founded on, while being promised all kinds of freebies.

        5. Agreeing that “immigration is a ‘good thing’ for the country” and agreeing that we should have open borders are hardly the same thing. Also, agreeing that “immigration is a ‘good thing’ for the country” and agreeing that “ILLEGAL immigration is a ‘good thing’ for the country” is also hardly the same thing. I used to think that Shakia was simply too stupid to understand the difference, but it has been pointed out in response to her screeds so often that I can no longer afford her that excuse. Now I must conclude that in posing the two as the same she is engaging in conscious, misleading propaganda. And can someone from Reason please explain why this magazine reprints anyone’s articles from left-wing rags? Can’t you at least require original work?

  11. By all means, let’s import immigrants and give them rights so that they can strip away ours.

    1. LOL

      Immigrants usually vote for the party that defends abortion rights. So there are practical as well as moral reasons to support open borders.

      1. Anyone, who supports abortion “rights” and tries to claim they are moral is a truly sick human being.

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  13. >>>Toddlers were being herded in hastily constructed “tender-age shelters” or equally horrible facilities. Abuse is reportedly rampant.

    vibrant picture you paint. little kids in an IBP plant.

  14. Keep the status quo for all I care. God this issue is so overblown. Don’t care about illegals sneaking in and I don’t care about ICE deporting them.

    1. Wait till you are out jogging without your wallet and, in our “papers please” police state, they catch and then expatriate you back to Fuckstanstanstanstanistan, where they THINK that you are from!

      1. You really should kill yourself

        1. What a spiritually advanced and compassionate thing to say!

          Who ministers to your soul, perhaps The Orange-Haired Wonder? What is He, a Priest, a Lama, or a Shama-Lama-Ding-Dong?

        2. You really should be on meds for your anger issues.

      2. Wont be necessary once the wall is built and all the commie subversives are dealt with.

  15. “Border patrol even allegedly traded young Mexican women they caught at the border to the Los Angeles Rams for season tickets.”

    No wonder the Rams used to suck so bad, they were trading for Mexican girls instead of drafting SEC players

    1. Yes, thanks! That was from http://theweek.com/articles/81…..er-cruelty …

      America’s shameful history of border cruelty

      America’s Finest now apparently engaging in “sex slave trafficking”, if this source is true… What next!??!

      1. Stake out the alley behind your local nail salon

  16. The country’s reign of terror on the southern border has its genesis in 1924 …
    Ku Klux Klan who “beat, shot, and hung migrants with regularity” along the Texas and California border.

    President Dwight Eisenhower’s notorious Operation Wetback
    That helped reduce abuse?until President Lyndon Johnson scrapped the program in 1965,

    Much before the Trump administration embraced child separation as official policy, border patrol was already using it unofficially in the 1970s,When agents encountered a family at the border, they reportedly nabbed the youngest member first
    Beatings and rape of girls as young as 12 were reportedly common. Border patrol even allegedly traded young Mexican women they caught at the border to the Los Angeles Rams for season tickets.

    Between 1982 and 1990,
    President Bill Clinton criminalized immigration further when he pushed?and signed?the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act

    a CBP whistleblower who worked for the agency between 2009 and 2011 paints a truly horrific picture. The whistleblower claimed that he witnessed agents shoot an unarmed woman and threaten to rape children.

    GOTDAMMIT TRUMP!!!

    ORANGE MAN BAD!!

    IMPEACH 45!!!!

  17. I don’t know which is more rich:

    Shikha classifying anything else as “over the top”, or

    Reading this after reading the Reason piece about how The Weekly Standard got everything wrong (but was at least intelligent..)

    It’s like 10,000 spoons on your wedding day

  18. Enforcement is still lax. We still have quasi-open borders. We can put an end to illegal immigration — just need a wall, e-verify, end birthright citizenship, reform asylum procedures, increases judges, etc.

    Then, we need to end chain migration and lottery visas, move to a merit-based system and reduce immigration levels by 50-100%.

    Then, we can do amnesty for law-abiding illegals who have been here for 5-10+ years. No citizenship or voting, though.

  19. “He should know because he created it.”

    No, the Democrats, who are extremist open border activists, created this problem. They intentionally created the policy that encourages migrants to bring children with them as pawns to game the system and get released into the U.S., never to be heard from again.

  20. We have quasi-open borders with very little enforcement. The real number of illegal immigrants is likely 25-30 million at least, but the open borders lobby and the media have been dishonestly using an 11 million figure for 20 years.

    1. Show us, on the doll, where the illegal humans touched you in a bad way, please…

      1. I have many friends and acquaintances whose parents are long time illegal immigrants, many of whom I know through soccer and hang out with weekly. Wouldn’t want any one of them to be deported if they are generally law-abiding. However, ending illegal immigration and reforming legal immigration is a no-brainer. And yet, there are those who are ideologically committed to open borders and do not want to end illegal immigration. Many of those in the media deserve hostility for their dishonest lines of attack on simple policy prescriptions that are self-evidently reasonable.

  21. So Trump is “over the top” in his attempt to enforce immigration laws already on the books. So, what would you label Obama, who chose to blatantly ignore these laws and even issued executive orders preventing the deportation of several million illegal aliens, as well as his “catch and release” policy?

  22. literally all this woman shikha cares about with regards to america is getting her family out of their shithole and over here no matter what broader repercussions for americans the policies needed to accomplish that will entail.

  23. talk about dual loyalties

  24. “But even before Trump’s zero-tolerance enforcement policy ”

    Zero tolerance. At minimum, ten million illegal aliens. By zero tolerance, does she mean 1 and lots of 0s?

    Build the wall and deport them all. They have to go back.

  25. According to a history I just read, the Mexican border was patrolled well before 1924 by federal agents who were assigned to keep out not Mexican but Chinese immigrants who were banned by a law dating to the 1800s. Vicious smugglers charging high prices and often murdering or abandoning their clients were common then as now. Chinese immigrants often died trying to cross the deserts in Arizona. I wish we could have open borders. However as long as we have a welfare state and a leftist political party eager to use immigrants’ votes to deprive Americans of their rights and property, I do not think we can. We are just not a free enough country to handle it. As an aside the author’s sometimes nearly hysterical sensationalism seems strange for a publication named “Reason”.

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