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Border bungle: An unnecessary crisis

June 19. 2018 10:54PM

President Donald Trump is wrong to blame Democrats for the current crisis of 2,000 children separated from their parents on America’s southern border. He’s right that Congress can fix it.

Trump does not want to take responsibility for separating families when parents are prosecuted for entering the country illegally. And this policy is not new. It is happening at an unprecedented scale because of Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy of prosecuting every case.

A government ignoring its laws is corrosive. But enforcing laws is both harder and more expensive than ignoring them. Trump seems not to know this. He was completely unprepared to implement his new policy, leading to chaos and outrage.

Legal battles going back two decades prevent immigration officials from holding minors for more than 20 days. But illegal immigrants who claim asylum take far longer than 20 days to process. The inevitable result is children taken away while their parents are prosecuted.

Past administrations would release families, hoping against hope they would show up in court to face possible deportation.

Pushed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and adviser Stephen Miller, Trump blundered into a zero-tolerance policy he was unprepared to implement properly or humanely.

In considering immigration this week, Congress should provide resources to expedite asylum claims while keeping families together. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has outlined a proposal that would do so.

Trump created this crisis through incompetence. Congress can end it by doing its job, for once.

Politics Immigration Editorial

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