Friday, June 22, 2018

Chronology of the Family Separation Crisis

The family separation crisis has been confusing, mostly because the Trump administration contradicted itself on a daily basis. Here is a quick and dirty chronology.

--Clinton administration on separating families: no explicit policy. Signed the Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, which did not mention the issue. It was not common for families to arrive together at that time. It did open the door for more deportations, and thus deportations of parents.

However, every so often separation did happen. Starting in 1993 there was a court case, Reno vs. Flores, where the Supreme Court ruled that children immigrants should be released to family as quickly as possible because of the treatment of a 15 year old Salvadoran girl.

--Bush administration on separating families: created Operation Streamline in 2005 with the phrase "zero tolerance." The idea was to criminalize border crossers. Over time, the federal immigration system could not handle the numbers, and people were often released. As with the Clinton years, parents with children was not common.

--Obama administration on separating families: continued Operation Streamline. When the surge of children occurred in 2014, many of them were unaccompanied, but when there were families they were locked up together. The number of families increased. as did the number of people released. Few families were separated and none were separated as a matter of policy. But the idea of family imprisonment became a real and troubling thing.

--Trump daily during campaign: I hate immigrants and I like leading chants for people who hate immigrants.

--Trump in August 2016 speech: my immigration policy will be zero tolerance.

--Attorney General Jeff Sessions in April 2018: we will separate families.

--Stephen Miller in June 2018: We have a zero tolerance policy. No one is "immune."

--Trump: Family separation is a policy created by Democrats and they have to change that law for the policy to change.

--Attorney General Jeff Sessions says it is the administration's policy and the Bible supports it.

--Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen says there is no policy of family separation.

--Nielsen says she will not apologize for the policy, which she had just said was not a policy.

--Trump says the issue cannot be resolved through an executive order.

--Trump then issues an executive order saying that families should be imprisoned together, even indefinitely.

--Congress: we would pass a law of some sort if we were capable, but it's unclear whether we are.

--Border Patrol official: we're not going to prosecute parents who cross the border with children until there are more resources. Department of Justice says that is not true.

--Trump to Congress: stop trying to pass immigration legislation.


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