Illegal immigration is at a peak. In fact, 2016 marks the record for most attempted border crossings by families. This week, the Obama Administration told a federal appeals court that illegal immigrants are kidnapping children so they can show up at the border as a “family unit.”
Much attention has gone to the tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors that have arrived at the border in recent months. According to the Flores Settlement, these children must be processed quickly and handed over to social workers for placement with families or other sponsors. But how should we treat entire families of illegals? Certainly we cannot separate parent from child.
How to deal with these families is just one of many uncomfortable questions that have risen to a head as the situation in Central America pushes more and more individuals northwards. Obama responded to the problem by opening several new detention facilities (that have since been criticized as “jail-like”) where families of illegal immigrants could await deportation. He sent messages to Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras warning them not to attempt such crossings.
Still, “family units” are more able to take advantage of today’s lax enforcement policies than are individuals. Take last year, for example, when Federal Judge Dolly M. Gee ordered that all mothers be lumped into the Flores Settlement for quick processing and release. Her decision has enticed others to try the same thing.
“When people now know that when I come as a family unit, I won’t be apprehended and detained – we now have people being abducted so that they can be deemed as family units, so that they can avoid detention,” claimed Deputy Assistant Attorney General Leon Fresco to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which handles deportation and detention, along with Customs and Border Protection, which guards the physical border, refused to comment on Fresco’s claim.
“We know zero instances of that, and there’s zero support for that anywhere in the record,” argued Peter Schey, the lawyer supporting the families involved in the lawsuit. “If they know of any such instances, I would think they would bring the actual instances to the attention of the court.”
Last year, the Obama Administration warned that giving families special treatment would lead to a surge in immigration – and now we’re seeing that surge.
Whether or not the Flores Settlement should apply to mothers and fathers crossing with children is still hotly debated. Fresco slams the idea that the agreement should extend to parents as a new and false “interpretation” invented by immigrant rights activists. Judge Dolly M. Gee’s ruling to release mothers along with their children is going far beyond the agreement’s wording, he argues.
“Our only concern, and the court’s only concern, was that they were treating mothers in a way that they weren’t treating anybody else in the United States,” explains Mr. Schey. Such treatment is exactly what leads to kidnapping.
Judge Hanen, presiding over the case, has scheduled a new hearing for August in which the issue will be revisited. By then, the Supreme Court will likely have ruled on the legality of Obama’s 2014 amnesty program (Deferred Action).
Editor’s note: This is a tough situation to deal with, and a smart (if sociopathic) tactic by immigrants. All the more reason to build the wall and cut way down on this activity.