4 Things to Know About Prosecuting Border Crossers
Updated: Nov 27, 2018
The problem with prosecuting every person crossing the border is that we don’t have the infrastructure to deal with it. It is a long and complicated process for refugees and asylum seekers to get through the system. It’s a system that needs comprehensive reform to get it working better. Here’s a few things to know about the current immigration system
There aren’t enough immigration judges to handle the current workload.
There is a 700,000 case backlog in immigration courts as it stands right now. Because of this, many people spend many years waiting for their right to prove their asylum case in court. If the government decides to prosecute every person that crosses the border without hiring more judges than the system that is already stressed will be under more pressure. Instead of allocating $25 billion for a border wall, which wouldn’t stop the asylum process, we could focus on hiring more judges to get people through the system. Every human, regardless of status, enjoys the protection of the Constitution. Sending people back without judges or court cases, as the president suggests here in this tweet, is a violation of a human's basic inalienable rights.
The cost of detaining people ranges from $134-$775 per person per night.
The detention system is extraordinarily expensive. Detaining people until they have an answer on their case can take months or years and the taxpayer foots the bill. We should only be detaining people that have a criminal background or are repeat offenders of crossing illegally. There are many other solutions that can be explored to keep track of asylum applicants. Ankle bracelets, something similar to parole officers that can check in with the people or American families that can sponsor the applicants are all solutions that are much cheaper, and more humane, than detention.
Crossing the border between ports of entry is a misdemeanor offense.
Is it really worth all the trouble to detain and separate people at the border for a misdemeanor? Is it worth destroying a child’s life? First time entries can be considered misdemeanors or a civil violation depending on what the current administration's policies are. A civil violation isn’t even considered criminal. Seeking asylum is also not criminal. Treating each person as a criminal isn’t only immoral, it’s also illogical due to the fact that our system can’t handle it. Comprehensive reform of the whole system would have to happen before a policy of this magnitude could even be possible.
There is a major humanitarian crises happening in Central America.
El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are experiencing such high rates of violence and organized crime that it is the main ‘push factor’ for people to decide to come the US. Many of the people understand the risks of the treacherous journey and the risk of deportation once arriving in the US and they choose to come anyway. I feel like this would suggest that the risks of traveling to the US outweigh the costs of staying home. We can debate all day long about whether or not these claims of asylum are in done in good faith, but that won’t change the fact that the movement north isn’t stopping anytime soon. The solution isn’t to deter the migration, but to reform the system to make it more efficient in deciphering who gets to stay.
Immigration is such a hot, complicated issue. I believe we must create laws and policies that reflect American ideals. We are a country for refuge, the land of opportunity, the land of the free. Turning our backs on our most vulnerable neighbors isn’t the answer. We must elect leaders that are willing to look at all the solutions rather than jumping to inhumane acts of injustice against children.
Here’s more info:
https://www.nytimes.com/podcasts/the-daily - What Migrants are Fleeing