Facing heavy criticism for a new “zero-tolerance” policy that is separating migrant children from their parents on the southern US border, the Trump administration is asking Congress to undo protections for migrant children and allow for more families to be held in immigration jails — all while blaming Democrats for the migrant “crisis” ahead of the midterm elections.
In a call with reporters on Tuesday, senior administration officials said Democrats’ refusal to close “loopholes” in immigration law and spend more money on border security and immigrant detention has created incentives for growing numbers of migrants fleeing Latin American countries to enter the United States illegally.
“Senate Democrats have been fighting tooth and nail against every solitary effort to close these loopholes and get adequate detention space, ICE officers, you name it,” said Steven Miller, a far-right activist who now serves as a senior policy adviser to President Trump.
Miller’s comments come as controversy swirls around the Trump administration’s new “zero-tolerance” policy for prosecuting undocumented immigrants.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently announced that all adults attempting to enter the country illegally would be arrested and prosecuted, even as human rights groups argue that many migrants caught in the criminal dragnet are fleeing violence and repression and should be considered asylum seekers.
Currently, children are not allowed to be held in adult immigration jails as their parents wait for a judge to rule on their case, so hundreds of children have been forcibly separated from their parents by federal officers in recent months, according to reports.
Last week, the United Nations’ refugee agency reported a “significant” increase in the number of people fleeing violence and persecution in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and seeking refuge in other countries, including the United States. The UN says many migrants are vulnerable women and children, but the White House…