Progressives Denounce Donald Trump’s ‘Unaccompanied Alien Children’ Asylum Reform

Honduran policemen frisk a young man belonging to the Olympia club’s Ultrafiel fans group, notoriously infiltrated by the “maras” (juvenile gangs), in Tegucigalpa, on February 10, 2013.
Orlando Sierra/AFP/Getty Images

Progressive advocates and immigration lawyers are denouncing the president’s compromise offer to allow youths in Central America to apply and win asylum in the United States.

The asylum plan will reduce the cartel-delivered flow of Central American “Unaccompanied Alien Children” migrants up to the United States, complain the activists.

“The just-released Senate bill leaves NO DOUBT Trump’s proposal is a total SHAM,” said Gregory Chen, government relations director for the immigration lawyers trade association. “It ENDS asylum for minors from Central America coming to U.S. borders forcing them to apply outside the US and is capped at 15,000 asylum grants per year.”

The bill would “gut asylum for kids fleeing for their lives,” said Frank Sharry, director of Immigration Voice.

The critics complain Trump’s reforms would set a 15,000 per year cap on the asylum inflow of Central American migrants and penalize migrants who game the asylum system by making “frivolous” claims. It would allow U.S. border officials to apply the same repatriation rules to Central American youths that are applied to younger migrants from Asia, Africa, or the Middle East, and it would cancel pending green card claims if the asylum seeker returns home.

The “Central American minor” program was added to President Donald Trump’s border wall bill following requests from Democratic legislators to reinstate the migrant program created by President Barack Obama. Trump agreed but tied his concession to legal reforms in the nation’s asylum policy.

The reforms are needed to remove the loopholes which allow children and youths from Central America to migrate into the United States with little risk of short-term or long-term deportation.

Many of the younger migrants who cross the border claim they are younger than 18 and ask to be treated as asylum-seeking UACs to prevent quick deportation.

Also, Mexican cartels use the loopholes to deliver youths and children to the border — for a fee of several thousand dollars — after which the U.S. government is forced to shelter UACs. The children and youths are soon picked up — or “sponsored” — by legal resident or illegal migrant relatives, or even by labor brokers, completing the transaction.

This  UAC loophole spurs illegal migration into the United States, damages communities in Central America, funds the cartels, pushes down wages in the U.S. blue-collar jobs market, and costs U.S. taxpayers.

But Democratic legislators — and many immigration lawyers — welcome the inflow and describe it as a “humanitarian challenge,” regardless of the cost to Americans or Central Americans.

Trump has tried to block this cartel trafficking by prosecuting some of the illegals who try to import their children.

But pro-migration Democrats, business first Republicans, and judges have kept open the cartel-managed flow.

On January 4, for example, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that a wall “is an immorality — it builds walls in peoples’ minds about who should come here.” On January 8, after Trump’s national address, Pelosi downplayed the northward flow of economic migrants. The migrants “are a humanitarian challenge, a challenge that President Trump’s own cruel and counter-productive policies have only deepened,” she said. On January 10, Pelosi said that Trump’s proposed barrier to Central American migration is “discriminatory.”

The progressive opposition to Trump’s combination of the CAM program with asylum reforms was highlighted by Twitter:

The proposed reform comes as more Central American migrants – including “UAC” youths — stream towards the California border.

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