Open The Government recently obtained internal documents from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that showed Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen personally signed off on the family separation policy while she publicly denied that any such policy existed.
A new report from the department's inspector general makes it clear that the department made a conscious decision to implement a zero tolerance policy that would lead to automatic separations, but the report tells us much more than that.
The memos obtained by Open The Government showed that Nielsen signed off on the policy because she believed it would deter other immigrants from crossing the border, but the inspector general's report shows that the policy actually led to an increase in illegal border crossings.
The inspector general's report, which you can read right here, says DHS was unprepared to implement the new policies on such short notice and while the department was urging asylum seekers to make claims at designated ports of entry, they imposed strict limits at the ports; limits known as "metering."
Moreover, the limits they set appear to have been illegitimate.
Under the Zero Tolerance Policy, the Government encouraged asylum-seekers to come to U.S. ports of entry. At the same time, CBP reported that overcrowding at the ports of entry caused them to limit the flow of people that could enter. This may have led asylum-seekers at ports of entry to attempt illegal border crossings instead. [...]
When metering, CBP officers stand at the international line out in the middle of the footbridges. Before an alien without proper travel documents (most of whom are asylum-seekers) can cross the international line onto U.S. soil, those CBP officers radio the ports of entry to check for available space to hold the individual while being processed. According to CBP, the officers only allow the asylum-seeker to cross the line if space is available.13 When the ports of entry are full, CBP guidance states that officers should inform individuals that the port is currently at capacity and that they will be permitted to enter once there is sufficient space and resources to process them. The guidance further states officers may not discourage individuals from waiting to be processed. [...]
Although the OIG team did not observe severe overcrowding at the ports of entry it visited, the team did observe that the space designated for holding asylum-seekers during processing is limited.
While the stated intentions behind metering may be reasonable, the practice may have unintended consequences. For instance, OIG saw evidence that limiting the volume of asylum-seekers entering at ports of entry leads some aliens who would otherwise seek legal entry into the United States to cross the border illegally. According to one Border Patrol supervisor, the Border Patrol sees an increase in illegal entries when aliens are metered at ports of entry. Two aliens recently apprehended by the Border Patrol corroborated this observation, reporting to the OIG team that they crossed the border illegally after initially being turned away at ports of entry. One woman said she had been turned away three times by an officer on the bridge before deciding to take her chances on illegal entry
I believe there's a very simple explanation for all of this.
The explanation is this: this is a racist policy drafted by racist people and implemented by racist people.
The decision to traumatize children to deter other families from seeking asylum here. The decision to impose unnecessary limits at ports of entry. The decision to rejected most reasons why someone would ask for asylum to begin with. All of this began with the idea that there's simply too many brown people in America and the ends have justified the means.
The idea that all of this is merely a result of the Trump regime's incompetence is not adequate or believable. These aren't coincidences.
This is what systemic racism looks like. This is Jim Crow for the border.