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There are solutions to the family separation crisis. But who's interested in solving the problem?

Conservative Review

There is a crisis on America's southern border, and it is horrific. But who's interested in a solution?

President Donald Trump's administration is weathering scathing criticism from the media, Democrats, and even some conservatives over the "zero-tolerance" policy of prosecuting illegal immigrants enacted in April. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' announcement that every adult who crosses the border illegally will be prosecuted has led to the separation of children from their parents, as the adults are detained by U.S. Marshals and the kids are placed into the custody of HHS.

Family units who follow the law and appear at ports of entry to claim asylum are not separated, though the overwhelming surge of migrants is causing backups and straining the limited resources of the government. Those who do not appear at ports of entry break the law, and if every adult is prosecuted, the government is required to separate the children while the adults are processed.

The intent of the administration's policy is good: Trump believes in the rule of law, and the social ills of illegal immigration are numerous and terrible. Failure to enforce border law empowers human traffickers and violent gangs, fuels the nation's drug crisis, and permanently separates families from their loved ones who are victims of violent crime and drug addiction. But the unintended consequences of Trump's zero-tolerance enforcement are heartbreaking.

Since early May, 2,342 children have been separated from the adults they were traveling with when they crossed the border illegally. The children are temporarily held in Customs and Border Protection facilities before they are transferred to the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement in the Department of Health and Human Services. Images have been reported of minors and kids being held in chain-link fencing and sleeping on mattresses placed on the floor. Audio has surfaced of these kids wailing and calling for their parents. Children as young as eight months old have been taken at the border and transported as far away as Michigan. Horrific stories have been reported of parents being deported back to their country of origin while their children remain in custody in the United States.

In many cases, the media is exaggerating the facts or outright lying to shape public opinion against enforcing immigration law. Trump is not responsible for creating the policy of separating children from parents, which stems from a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that ruled the federal government cannot hold children in detention with their parents. Some adults are lying, and there have been 148 cases of alleged fraud among the 59,113 total family unit apprehensions — not an insignificant number when even one child may have been kidnapped so a trafficker could enter the United States by claiming asylum.

But these nuances are lost in the shouting on social media and the confusion from the White House's contradictory defenses of the policy. Public perception is against the Trump administration. Two-thirds of Americans oppose the consequences of the "zero-tolerance" policy. The realities of the law and the immoral consequences of illegal immigration are difficult to communicate when media reports are full of tear-jerkers about children being taken from their parents.

There is an outcry for a solution to this nightmare situation. But while the Democrats and some of Trump's critics want Trump to simply reverse the policy, they're hiding their cards, refusing to say outright what their solution means. Refusing to enforce immigration law is just as immoral and unjust as separating families. The old policy, with the lure of DACA amnesty, incentivized migrants and traffickers to take children on the dangerous and violent journey to the southern border with the expectation that they could claim asylum and be released into the United States. A secure border and strictly enforced immigration law is necessary to stop the abuses of migrants who believe they can enter the U.S. illegally.

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