From ‘zero tolerance’ to now: How America’s migrant policies have changed in the Trump and Biden years
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Rebecca Morin, USA TODAY
·7 min read
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WASHINGTON – Dozens of children on floor mats, covered with Mylar blankets and crowded side-by-side in a holding facility. Families huddled under a bridge as they await processing at the U.S.-Mexico line. And lawmakers standing outside a border facility, spouting their outrage over the conditions.
These scenes, common under the Trump administration, continue to play out as thousands of migrant families, children and adults head to the U.S.-Mexico border in hopes to come to the United States – even as border laws keep changing.
America's policies toward migrants at the southern border kept shifting over the past four years as the U.S. pivoted from former President Donald Trump's rigid immigration views to President Joe Biden's less-restrictive positions. Add to that the increasing numbers of migrants and unaccompanied children coming to the border and the complications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trump implemented several hardline immigration policies, including a “zero-tolerance” policy that separated children from parents who crossed illegally through the U.S.-Mexico border. While many of those policies have changed under Biden, the images of families and children at the border continue to be reminiscent of the previous administration and showcase issues the U.S. faces when dealing with immigration policy.
The Biden administration is currently accepting unaccompanied migrant children into the United States, while turning away most adults under a Trump-era policy called Title 42, which allows Customs and Border Protection to expel undocumented migrants to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in holding facilities. But now Mexico isn’t accepting some families back, leading the Biden administration to begin accepting some families with small children.
Here’s how policies on immigration have changed from the last administration to now:
Increase in migrants before Trump inauguration
Trump made immigration a prominent part of his agenda throughout his four years in office. During his 2016 presidential campaign, he often criticized migrants and promised to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. After winning the election, an increase in migrants tried to come to the United States ahead of his inauguration.
Trump deploys military
Trump deployed the military to the U.S.-Mexico border in October 2018 because a group of migrants was heading to the United States’ southern border from Central America. The group of migrants, which Trump often referred to as a caravan, were mostly people from Honduras fleeing violence and poverty. As the group made its way up north, it grew in size.
Asylum policy changes
In November 2018, Trump implemented a policy that barred migrants from claiming asylum if they entered the United States between border checkpoints. The policy went against U.S. and international law, which says migrants are allowed to seek asylum regardless of whether they do it at an official checkpoint or not. Although initial court rulings allowed the policy to continue in some states, a federal court in September 2019 blocked the policy nationwide.
In April 2018, the Trump administration implemented a “zero-tolerance” policy that separated children from their parents who were seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border in an effort to deter migrants from coming to the U.S. More than 4,300 families were separated under the policy.
Trump signed an executive order in June 2018 halting the policy. However, a limited number of families were still separated throughout the rest of Trump’s presidency. Hundreds of parents were still missing from their children when Biden took office because officials did not properly track children who were separated from their parents under the Trump administration. Biden has since created a task force to reunite children who were separated from their parents.
‘Remain in Mexico’
Trump in January 2019 implemented the Migrant Protection Protocols, known as "Remain in Mexico," which forced migrants to wait in Mexico for their court hearings. The policy caused many migrants to stay in dangerous Mexican border towns with some becoming victims of violence.
Trump’s pressure on Mexico
Trump in March 2019 pressured Mexico to do more to stop migrants from coming to the United States. Trump threatened to close the U.S.-Mexico border and implement tariffs against Mexico. Mexico increased security at its border with Guatemala.
Overcrowded and unhygienic conditions
The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General released a report in July 2019 that showed overcrowded and unhygienic conditions at five processing centers in Texas. Children were also kept at those processing facilities longer than 72 hours. By law, children are supposed to be moved out of CBP custody within 72 hours.
"We are concerned that overcrowding and prolonged detention represent an immediate risk to the health and safety of DHS agents and officers, and to those detained," the report said.
New asylum policy and ICE raids
In July 2019, Trump implemented a policy that would not allow migrants to seek asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border if they passed through another country first. While a majority of migrants are from Central America, and would have to pass through Mexico, migrants seeking asylum are also coming from Africa, Cuba and Haiti.
As part of his crackdown on undocumented immigrants in the United States, raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement increased. In August 2019, ICE raided seven chicken plants in Mississippi, where hundreds of immigrant workers were arrested. Some were mothers who were still breastfeeding their young babies, as well as single parents.
The start of Title 42
In March 2020, at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention instituted a policy, Title 42, that allowed the CBP to expel undocumented migrants to prevent the spread of the virus in holding facilities. The majority of migrants, including children, were deported under that policy.
Within days of Biden's inauguration Jan. 20, he halted construction of the border wall, stopped the Migrant Protection Protocol and his administration began processing individuals who were part of the policy.
Although Biden is continuing to keep Title 42 in place, his administration is now accepting children. However, the Biden administration has struggled to quickly move children out of CBP custody and into the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services while HHS vets sponsors and family members for the children. Many children are being kept in jail-like facilities that are overcrowded and hundreds of children are being kept in those facilities longer than the 72-hour limit.
In January, a Mexican law stopped the United States from turning away migrant families with young children at some parts of the U.S.-Mexico border, as the Mexican government was no longer accepting children and families to their government-run facilities. The Biden administration has noted it has accepted some families, but other families are still being expelled to Mexico.
An increase in migrants coming to the U.S. drew the nation's attention back to the border earlier this year.
The Biden administration has experienced an uptick in migrants coming to the border, including unaccompanied children. As of Friday, 5,381 unaccompanied children were in CBP custody and 13,359 unaccompanied children were in HHS custody.
Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have criticized Biden for his response to the surge coming to the United States.
With many of the CBP facilities overcrowded, Democratic lawmakers said they want to see the Biden administration quickly move children to their sponsors. Republican lawmakers, however, have criticized Biden for undoing many of Trump’s policies, saying that is what led to the increase. Republicans have also called on Biden to visit the border, something the president has yet to do.
For months, the Biden administration has limited press from touring the HHS and CBP facilities. Late last month, CBS and other media outlets were able to tour a CBP facility in Donna, Texas. Children could be seen sleeping on mats on the floor with Mylar blankets. Many of the pods holding the children were overcrowded and some children could be seen playing soccer outside on an AstroTurf field.
Biden announced last month Vice President Kamala Harris would take the lead in working with Central American countries to help mitigate migration at the border.
Violence continued on the streets of Belfast, Northern Ireland, following heightened tensions in the region over a mix of factors including Brexit, policing issues and anger about the lack of prosecution for Sinn Fein politicians who allegedly broke coronavirus restrictions.
Wholesale prices jumped again in March pushed by another big increase in energy prices, the government reported Friday. The Labor Department’s producer price index, which measures inflation before it reaches consumers, rose 1% in March, follows last month’s 0.5% gain and a record jump of 1.3% in January. Energy prices jumped 5.9%, the Labor Department said Friday.
Amazon StudiosYou know a director’s work has been culturally influential when, in its wake, a crop of second-rate rehashes that simplify its ideas and formulas begins materializing.Such is the case with Them, a 10-part Amazon series (out April 9) that recycles and amalgamates many of the elements and themes of Jordan Peele’s Get Out and Us, the latter of which is even evoked by this endeavor’s similar title. More deflating still, though, is that creator Little Marvin and executive producer Lena Waithe’s horror effort (intended to be an American Horror Story-ish anthology, with each season boasting a new narrative) also traces the same lines already recently drawn by HBO’s Lovecraft Country, to underwhelming ends. Lovecraft Country may have been a mess, but at least it was daring and unpredictable—something that can’t be said of this period-piece tale of monstrous racism.Early intertitles set the scene: Between 1916 and 1970, approximately 6 million Black Americans relocated from the rural Jim Crow South to other parts of the United States, where they hoped to find greater tolerance and opportunity. In 1953, Henry (Ashley Thomas) and Livia “Lucky” Emory (Deborah Ayorinde), along with their two daughters Ruby (Us star Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Gracie (Melody Hurd), become part of that great migration, moving from Chatham County, North Carolina, to Compton, California. The Emorys are attempting to start fresh after a terrible tragedy that, we glean from an oblique prologue, involved a menacing white woman (Dale Dickey) and her cohorts snatching their infant son Chester in broad daylight. Considering that the ensuing tale will focus on the clan’s 10-day ordeal in their new West Coast environs, it’s clear from the outset that this change of scenery will do them no good. Anne Frank’s Stepsister Eva Schloss on Holocaust Horrors and How Trump Reminds Her of HitlerThem’s introductory on-screen exposition and ’70s-style credits recall The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and to be sure, a nightmare is in the cards. Their abode at 3011 Palmer Drive sits in a row of picture-perfect suburban tract homes straight out of Edward Scissorhands, and their neighbors are all clean-cut white men and eerie Stepford Wives-esque homemakers. At the top of that domestic food chain is Betty Wendell (Alison Pill), a bigot who resides with her husband Clark (Liam McIntyre) directly across the street from Henry and Lucky, and whose response to the area’s latest members is to shoot them malevolently disapproving looks from her front steps, and to then organize the rest of the street’s women to sit on lawn chairs and stare at the Emory house while blaring music. They’re racists with a capital R-A-C-I-S-T-S.From the outset, there’s no subtext to Them, only text, and that doesn’t change as further details emerge. Henry is a WWII veteran who, in 1946, was a PTSD-wracked mess only saved from lunacy by Lucky. Following Chester’s abduction, however, the shoe is now on the other foot, with Henry trying to prevent unstable Lucky from snapping while simultaneously getting them all settled in their new digs and dealing with co-workers and bosses at his aerospace engineering job whose prejudice lurks behind thinly veiled small talk and laughter. Alas, keeping Lucky in check is hard work, since Betty and company are blatantly abusive and threatening, and because unnerving things keep happing in their home—such as their dog turning up dead, and Gracie boasting strangulation marks on her neck after the little girl’s nocturnal run-in with a specter that, she claims, is her children’s book protagonist Miss Vera.Evil supernatural forces are almost as plentiful in this enclave as are real-world villains, and Them’s guiding idea is that racism is a corrupting plague that drives Black people literally insane—in part because they are repeatedly informed by their tormentors that their persecution is their own fault for not being nice or accommodating or reasonable enough. There’s mileage to be elicited from that idea, but over the course of its first four installments (which were all that was provided to press), the material is content to stay on the surface, alternating between scenes in which Betty fumes about the Emorys and organizes the town’s men to do something horrible about it, and Henry and Lucky have strange hallucinations (or are they?) involving blackface performers and housewives driven mad by incessant discrimination.Them’s directors stage their requisite jump scares with aplomb, and both Ayorinde and Thomas deliver engaging harried-to-their-breaking-point lead performances. Yet there’s no nuance to the proceedings’ dramatic dynamics—a situation not rectified by a revelation about Betty’s own family, which only underlines the twisted rancidness of virtually every Caucasian character. Marvin eschews the complexity of Peele’s socially-minded horror films for a much more straightforward approach, all while appropriating various facets of those predecessors, be it chipper ’50s pop tunes, creepy kids, or—most glaringly—the lingering image of a Black woman’s face whose big smile masks barely-suppressed trauma and psychosis. That doesn’t stop the series from conjuring up a few memorable sights of its own, such as a top-hatted fiend who accosts Lucky on an empty bus. But it does neuter the majority of the action’s suspense, since we always know exactly how we’re supposed to feel about everyone involved.Much of the blame for that shortcoming, ultimately, falls on Them’s writing, which amidst endless ugly epithets spewed by its light-skinned cretins, has one character tell Henry, “I heard them white folks in Compton are straight-up evil, man,” forcing Lucky to opine, “There is something wrong with this place, Henry. I can feel it. Something rotten,” and features Gracie remarking, “There’s something bad in this house. I don’t like it.” Clues about the nature of this otherworldly threat aren’t hard to spy (the Emorys purchased their home from the hellish-sounding Southland Trust Reality). Then again, there’s little sleuthing required, given that it’s not long before folks begin informing the family that their dwelling’s prior Black owners met a grisly fate.If nothing else, the series has a controlled aesthetic polish that keeps the mood sinister during both the sunshiny day and shadowy night. And perhaps there are greater mysteries lurking around Them’s second-half corner; vague intimations of a grander conspiracy do suggest that there could be more up the show’s sleeve than is initially apparent. Nevertheless, there’s so little novelty or intricacy to this saga’s early going that, in the end, it’s difficult to give it the benefit of the doubt.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Just five months after Boeing’s troubled 737 MAX jets finally returned to service, more turbulence. U.S. airlines temporarily grounded more than 60 of those jets Friday. The moves come one day after Boeing told the Federal Aviation Administration that it recommends temporarily removing some planes from service so it can address a manufacturing issue that could affect its backup power control unit. The aerospace giant wants 16 MAX customers to verify – in its words – “that a sufficient ground path exists for a component of the electrical power system.” In response, Southwest Airlines removed 30 MAX planes from its schedule; American took out 17, and United pulled 16 MAX planes. The airlines have no estimate as to when the planes could return to the skies. A Boeing spokeswoman said the issue is not related to the key safety system tied to the two fatal crashes that led to the 20-month long grounding of the MAX planes. Boeing shares fell on the news in early trading Friday, making them the Dow’s top decliner.
The Toronto Blue Jays have placed outfielder Teoscar Hernández on the injured list after he was exposed to someone with a positive coronavirus case outside of the team. Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said Friday the team is conducting contact tracing and testing in accordance with Major League Baseball's guidelines after Hernández's close contact. Left-hander Ryan Borucki also went on the injured list with vaccine side effects, which included a fever and fatigue.
During this weekend’s highly anticipated donor retreat hosted by the Republican National Committee in Palm Beach, Ohio Senate candidate Josh Mandel was escorted off the premises while his primary opponent, Jane Timken, was allowed to stay, two sources with direct knowledge of the situation tell Axios.What we’re hearing: The invitation-only event is taking place at the Four Seasons Resort, and the RNC reserved the entire hotel. While Timken, former Ohio GOP chair, was invited to the event “because she is a major donor” — Mandel was not, so he was asked to leave, according to one of the sources.Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for freeDespite not having his name on the list, Mandel seized on the opportunity to get some face time with top Republican donors while they all were in one place, one source familiar with his plans told Axios.But when the first event formally kicked off at the hotel Friday night, Mandel and others who did not have credentials were asked to leave.A spokesperson for the RNC declined to comment. Mandel's team did not immediately respond to requests for comment.Between the lines: Those attending the retreat not only have access to big donors, but also key party players, including former President Trump. Saturday evening, the group will travel to Mar-a-Lago, where Trump is expected to deliver remarks and mingle with attendees. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential 2024 presidential contender, will also speak. Why it matters: The incident gives Timken more visibility and access to Trump, which is crucial as he continues to be the party’s rainmaker and most influential player. It also underscores how Trump’s efforts to continue leading the GOP have made all interactions with donors high-stakes. Background: Trump previously showed interest in endorsing Timken, but was ultimately talked out of it by his son, Donald Trump Jr., and other top advisers.Mandel and Timken have long been extremely pro-Trump and both are vying to get the former president's endorsement — which could be the deciding factor in who wins the race to replace Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who recently announce he will not run for reelection.More from Axios: Sign up to get the latest market trends with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free
Los Angeles Police DepartmentThree toddlers were found stabbed to death on Saturday morning in a Reseda, Los Angeles, apartment, and their mother, Liliana Carrillo, was arrested following a police manhunt. The victims, whose names were not disclosed, were 3, 2, and six months old. Their grandmother found their bodies after she returned from work around 9:30 a.m. Police said Carrillo, 30, may have stolen a pickup truck in Bakersfield, California hours after the stabbing. She was taken into custody near Ponderosa in Tulare County. Investigators have yet to identify a motive. “Obviously, they’ll be talking with this lady at length to try to figure out what’s going on in her mind,” Lt. Raul Jovel told The Los Angeles Times, “These are the moments we carry throughout our career. It’s hard to process that as a police officer.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin will be carried through the grounds of Windsor Castle in a modified Land Rover that he designed for the occasion himself. The funeral will take place next Saturday at 3pm, following a short procession in which the Prince of Wales and senior members of the Royal family will follow the coffin on foot as it is driven to St George’s Chapel. The Queen will not take part in the procession. It will be a royal funeral like no other, with Royals adhering to Covid-19 guidelines by wearing masks throughout the ceremony and maintaining social distancing. A Buckingham Palace spokesperson confirmed that it would not be a state occasion, in accordance with the Duke’s wishes, but a ceremonial royal funeral in line with the Queen Mother’s funeral in 2002. Her Majesty gave final approval to the plans, which “very much reflect the personal wishes of the Duke" who died peacefully at home in Windsor Castle on Friday morning.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Tex.) revealed Saturday that he underwent emergency surgery on his left eye a day earlier after a doctor discovered his retina was detaching. The surgery "went well" he said, but it will require a long and likely arduous recovery. "I will be effectively blind for about a month," he explained, adding that a "few more prayers that my vision will get back to normal ... wouldn't hurt." While he recovers, he'll be mostly "off the grid," he said. It was a "terrifying prognosis" for Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL, who was hit by an IED blast during a mission in Afghanistan's Helmand province in 2012. The injury cost him his right eye and badly damaged his left, his vision only returning after several surgeries, The Dallas Morning News notes. Crenshaw said "it was always a possibility that the effects of the damage to my retina would resurface, and it appears that is exactly what has happened." pic.twitter.com/9laF7Gjfvo — Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) April 10, 2021 House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) called Crenshaw a "fighter" who "has the support of every one of his colleagues" in Congress. "He's going to win this battle, too," McCarthy wrote on Twitter. More stories from theweek.com7 brutally funny cartoons about Mitch McConnell's corporate hypocrisyHow red states silence urban votersYou should start a keyhole garden