WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
1 Nov 2018 | Press Release

Trump’s Immigration Proposals: Shameful, Unnecessary, and Sure to Cause Chaos

Tent Cities to Indefinitely Detain Asylum Seeking Families are Shameful, Deploying the Military to the Border is Unnecessary and Wasteful, Changes to Asylum Policies will Create Chaos

Washington, DC—Today, in a speech on immigration intended to rally his supporters ahead of next week’s elections, President Donald Trump announced the creation of “tent cities” to hold asylum-seeking families indefinitely, as well as further limitations to the ways in which people can apply for asylum. He also restated the intent to deploy thousands of military troops to the U.S. border.

Geoff Thale, Vice President for Programs at research and advocacy group the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), issued the following reaction:

“The proposal to detain asylum-seeking families in tent cities is shameful and will hurt children’s wellbeing. Sending the military to the border to meet a group of migrants who are coming to seek protection from violence is unnecessary and wasteful. The proposed changes to our asylum policies will cause chaos and create a backlog of people at U.S. ports of entry, which are already understaffed and under-equipped.

If the president was serious about tackling immigration, he would support the anti-corruption initiatives meant to address causes of migration from Central America and staff up immigration courts and ports of entry at the border. Instead, he’s intent on carrying out this chaotic, unnecessary, wasteful show of force in order to score political points.

In the aftermath of a wave of hate crimes that have shaken the nation to its core, it’s deeply concerning that President Trump doubled down on dangerous rhetoric, demonizing Latino migrants and spreading fear and falsehoods about immigration.

The president is using this moment to push draconian anti-immigrant policies with little understanding of what’s actually happening at our border and what’s driving migration from Central America. These are women, children, and families who faced little other choice than to flee a region where violence, hunger, and instability has made it near impossible to stay. The president is treating people who deserve a humane response as if they need to be met with armed troops. It’s a shameful and counterproductive response to the situation in Central America and at our border.”

See WOLA’s other resources on immigration issues:

  • Report: challenges for asylum seekers at U.S. ports of entry.
  • Report: there are more humane, effective alternatives to indefinitely detaining families, which is never in the best interest of children.
  • Nine questions and answers about the Central American migrant caravan.
  • Statement: A call to stop hate speech.