President Trump is furious over the failure of his administration to bring unauthorized migration to an end. At a recent cabinet meeting, he reportedly shouted at Kirstjen Nielsen, the homeland security secretary, blaming her for the fact that after a lull in unlawful border-crossings during the first year of his presidency, when many potential migrants were deterred by his fierce rhetoric, the number of attempts is climbing once again. Predictably, there has been an effort to allay the president’s concerns, to convince him that senior officials really do have every intention of cracking down on unauthorized immigration, even if—or rather, especially if—doing so generates ugly headlines, which will ultimately make their way to source countries and, in theory, deter others from making the trek northward.

Most controversially, the Trump administration has pledged to separate parents who attempt illegal entries from their children. The new policy is designed to channel migrants towards official ports of entry, but also to help ensure that adults accompanied by children aren’t treated more leniently than those who are not. Regardless of what you may think of the justness of such a punitive approach, there is reason to believe it will have some deterrent effect. Potential migrants are more sophisticated than is commonly understood. They are attuned to policy shifts in destination countries, for the obvious reason that the decision to risk apprehension carries with it high stakes. It is not undertaken lightly.

Yet there is a limit to an approach expressly designed to generate ugly headlines, which is that sowing fear doesn’t just deter potential migrants. It also enrages many citizens at home, and it risks sapping the legitimacy of immigration enforcement writ large. This is doubly true of the president’s poorly-targeted approach to deportations. And it is this corrosive effect, not the supposed lassitude …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Politics


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