Saturday, October 13, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He got the effects of his family separation policy wrong.

This morning, Trump defended his policy of separating children from their parents when they end up in the custody of immigration officials--including refugees and asylum-seekers.

Trump's logic was that the prospect of losing their children was a good form of deterrence for adult border-crossers: "If they feel there will be separation, they don’t come."

In reality, as his own government's statistics show, the family separation policy--which spurred bipartisan alarm as to its cruelty and incredibly shoddy administration--had no effect whatsoever. Trump's use of family separation began in October 2017 and continued in force through June 2018. 5,129 more people traveling in family groups were apprehended crossing the border in that period than in the same 9-month period for the previous year.

Families willing to risk the border crossing rarely feel they have a choice, whether they qualify for asylum or not, are fleeing horrific gang violence, collapsed economies, and political persecution

It's not clear whether Trump knows this and was lying, or has not been told about the ineffectiveness of child separation as a deterrent.

Why should I care about this?

  • Policies that ignore facts are usually bad policies.
  • Deliberately inflicting harm on children to achieve political goals is evil.