Trump’s Onerous-Line Immigration Insurance policies Go Earlier than Voters
McALLEN, Texas – The Department of Homeland Security leadership gathered under the shade of 30-foot, black-painted steel bollards Thursday to promote the early completion of President Trump’s 400-mile border wall.
The politics of the moment, five days before the election, was not lost to anyone.
“The only reason we haven’t reached another crisis is because of the policies and procedures that this administration has put in place in recent years, including building an effective border wall system,” said Chad F. Wolf, Acting Secretary of State for Homeland Security. told reporters, photographers and cameramen. “Getting rid of these measures or reversing course is absolutely no way forward.”
Immigration was not a central theme of the race between Mr Trump and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic candidate, but the future of some of the president’s tough policies on the border will be determined by the results.
The Department of Homeland Security has attempted to fulfill Mr. Trump’s promise of 450 miles of border wall before the end of the year. Customs and Border Protection officials say the agency is about a week away from the 400-mile mark, and almost all construction has been done in areas where there were already derelict fences or vehicle barriers.
But the steel structure on the border, erected without the approval of Congress, is a monument to the president’s determination. It has impacted the environment, private property owners and, as Homeland Security officials say, the work of border guards.
In the past few days, department heads have traversed the nation, including in battlefield states, to emphasize routine arrests by immigration and customs authorities, criticize Democrats, and blow up so-called policy of the protected cities. The agency has also set up billboards in Pennsylvania to warn of the dangers posed by undocumented immigrants.
All of this has heightened criticism that the department has become an arm of the Trump campaign.
“Behind this is partisan politics, not operational reasons,” said David Lapan, former spokesman for the ministries of homeland security and defense under Trump. “Over the course of the Trump administration, the DHS was seen as increasingly politicized.”
The nonprofit government watchdog American Oversight called on the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security to investigate whether top leadership has violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activities in the workplace.
Standing in front of a number of border guards, Mr Wolf dismissed criticism and defended policies that have effectively halted migration across the southwest border and left families in filthy tented camps in some of Mexico’s most dangerous areas.
Homeland Security officials also attacked the policy proposals made by Mr Biden, who pledged to immediately stop building the Wall and end the Remain in Mexico program that has forced tens of thousands of migrants to await asylum seekers’ trials in Mexico.
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Mark A. Morgan, the acting commissioner for customs and border protection in the US, said the policies followed by Mr Biden would lead to an “invasion” of migrants, although he acknowledged in a separate interview that most migrants do the latter Year crossed the border, were not criminals, but rather Central American families fleeing poverty.
Asked in an interview if he was concerned that his language might create the perception of a violent threat, Mr Morgan replied defensively.
“That’s what people want to go straight to. Are we xenophobic, we are racist, right?” He added, “I have no problem with saying that the vast majority of those who try to enter the US illegally are not bad people, are they? But some are. So my question is how many? “
Most of the illegal crossings to the United States in recent years have taken place in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, but only seven miles of the wall have been built in the area.
Private South Texas landowners say the wall will cut through their fields and lots; You have forced the Trump administration to go through the arduous process of claiming a significant domain in court. In order to meet Mr. Trump’s promised 450 miles, the administration has concentrated construction on areas owned by the federal government, over land that is already obstructing cross-border commuters.
Border Patrol chief Rodney S. Scott admitted that the Rio Grande Valley “was a higher priority for the US Border Patrol.” But he added, “We decided to move to a lower priority because I could make a difference there and then.”
Oct. 29, 2020, 8:53 p.m. ET
That approach has damaged ecosystems and disrupted migration of endangered wildlife, said Laiken Jordahl, a border activist at the Center for Biodiversity.
“This 400 mile celebration is not insignificant,” he said. “This is something that communities and indigenous nations across the border are grieving for. This marks 400 miles of destruction. “
The Trump administration has secured roughly $ 15 billion to build a 731-mile border wall, with much of the money transferred from the Department of Defense and Congress to military construction projects and the ban on narcotics.
Shortly before the president’s deadline expired, the government intensified litigation against landowners in South Texas. According to Ricky Garza, an attorney for the Texas Civil Rights Project, 106 lawsuits were filed against landowners this year to investigate, confiscate, and possibly start construction on the construction. This corresponds to an increase of 27 lawsuits from 2019. The federal government filed 22 cases in September alone.
“This is an assault on our culture, heritage, identity, and that’s why we’re fighting,” said Melissa Cigarroa, a landowner who said the government threatened to give her access to her property in Zapata County, Texas Sue . “We feel it viscerally.”
Homeland Security officials say the border wall is critical. It has enabled the agency to direct migration to specific areas where it can strategically deploy border guards to arrest migrants. They say it freed these agents to make more arrests rather than responding to families seeking protection.
This month the agency is expected to see the highest monthly total of illegal crossings for the year, Wolf said. The asylum blockade, however, did not come from a steel wall but from a web of political changes, particularly the policy of staying in Mexico, which has forced more than 60,000 migrants to Mexico to wait for court dates to have their asylum applications assessed.
The department has also used a public health emergency statement to help migrants, including unaccompanied children, quickly return to Mexico or their home countries without the opportunity to have their asylum claims heard.
While the department has stated the rule prevented the spread of disease in the United States, immigration lawyers say they are in conflict with immigration laws that require migrants to be able to hear their fear of persecution in their home countries when they step on US soil.
Mr. Morgan pushed back again.
“There are times when someone who wants and needs to apply for asylum is replaced by something far more valuable,” he said, “and that is the life of American citizens.”
He added that migrants were still offered the option of fear of torture, which was assessed by an immigration officer, even though this screening is a much higher bar than screening for persecution.
Mr Morgan said the Mexican government had failed to review reports of widespread violence against migrants in Mexico. But immigration organizations have recorded hundreds of attacks against those forced by the United States to return to Mexico and circulated some records of cartel extortion attempts.
Mr Morgan blamed the migrants.
“They are deliberately leaving the protected environment and re-engaging the smuggling organizations, even when told not to do so in order to try to enter the US illegally,” he said. “Then expose yourself.”