‘Come legally?’ Trump, here’s what you don’t get
By Jill Filipovic
“Tell people not to come to our country illegally,” was President Donald Trump’s comment to reporters as he boarded a plane to Europe on Tuesday. “That’s the solution. Don’t come to our country illegally. Come like other people do. Come legally.”
What was he responding to?
A quick review, first — lest we allow ourselves to grow numb to the horror of what the Trump administration has done at the border. It made a strategic and cruel decision to separate children, including toddlers and babies, from their parents — most of whom have come to the border from Central American countries seeking asylum — and then used those stolen children as leverage to get those parents to rescind any asylum claims and return home, and to dishearten future migrants.
Now, under pressure from the courts, officials are struggling to reunite separated families — and oops, it turned out they didn’t have a functional tracking system in place, so they can’t easily figure out which kids belong to which parents. It’s a colossal train wreck, unparalleled in recent memory, and with dire consequences: Frightened children trapped in cages, desperate and terrified parents not knowing when or whether they will see their sons and daughters again.
Instead of taking responsibility, Trump and his aides have dodged and deflected, first blaming Democrats for the policy (which they had nothing to do with) and now pinning the problem on a new scapegoat: The parents. A federal court ordered the administration to reunite parents and children under the age of 5 by Tuesday. The administration can’t; they’re so screwed up and chaotic they’re going to blow the deadline.
And all Trump can say is: “Don’t come to our country illegally. Come like other people do. Come legally.”
It’s a nice thought, and a powerful talking point. Unfortunately, it’s not all that easy. The United States, a country of more than 328 million people, lets in fewer than 200,000 legal immigrants
from Mexico every year. Far more want to come, either because they’re fleeing violence or because they are escaping crushing poverty and hope to work for a reasonable living.
From El Salvador the United States grants legal status to just over 23,000 people; from Guatemala and Honduras, it’s about 13,000 apiece (the last available Department of Homeland Security statistics are from 2016
To read the full article click here