GOP Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska is calling for the Trump administration to end the “wicked” practice of separating immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border. Many others on both sides of the political spectrum have called for reform, but Sen. Sasse has been one of the most vocal GOP members taking a stance.
In a Facebook post Monday, he highlighted several factors that have contributed to the country’s “broken immigration system,” noting that “Congress clearly bears much of the blame.” He then stressed the need to “[tackle] the specific problem before us in the narrowest way possible.”
“The President should immediately end this family separation policy,” Sasse wrote.
In his post, the senator offers a condensed version of what is happening at the border, providing a list of 10 different facts about the situation. They are as follows:
1) Family separation is wicked. It is harmful to kids and absolutely should NOT be the default U.S. policy. Americans are better than this.
2) This bad new policy is a reaction against a bad old policy. The old policy was “catch-and-release.” Under catch-and-release, if someone made it to the border and claimed asylum (whether true or not, and most of the time it wasn’t true), they were released into the U.S. until a future hearing date. Many folks obviously don’t show up at these hearings, so this became a new pathway into the U.S.
3) Catch-and-release – combined with inefficient deportation and other ineffective policies – created a magnet whereby lots of people came to the border who were not actually asylum-seekers. This magnet not only attracted illegal immigrants generally, but also produced an uptick in human trafficking across our border. (We now also have some limited evidence of jihadi recruiters spreading word about how to exploit the southwestern border.)
4) Human trafficking organizations are not just evil; they’re also often smart. Many quickly learned the “magic words” they needed to say under catch-and-release to guarantee admission into the U.S. Because of this, some of the folks showing up at the border claiming to be families are not actually families. Some are a trafficker with one or more trafficked children. Sometimes border agents can identify this, but many times they aren’t sure.
5) Any policy that incentivizes illegal immigration is terrible governance. But even more troubling is that catch-and-release rewarded traffickers, who knew they could easily get their victims to market in the U.S.
6) This foolish catch-and-release policy had to be changed. But changing from catch-and-release does not require adopting the wicked family separation policy. The choice before the American people does not have to be “wicked versus foolish.”
7) The administration’s decision to separate families is a new, discretionary choice. Anyone saying that their hands are tied or that the only conceivable way to fix the problem of catch-and-release is to rip families apart is flat wrong. There are other options available to them. The other options are all messy (given that some overly prescriptive judges have limited their administrative options), but there are ways to address this that are less bad than the policy of family separation they’ve chosen.
8) There are many senior folks in the administration who hate this policy, and who want to do something better.
9) But some in the administration have decided that this cruel policy increases their legislative leverage. This is wrong. Americans do not take children hostage, period.
“So what happens next?” Sasse asks.
In addition to imploring the president to “immediately end” the separation of illegal immigrant families, Sasse announced that he is currently working with James Lankford from Oklahoma to craft a possible solution to this “human tragedy at the border.”
Read the full post below: