The Wall Street Journal published a story Saturday that draw attention to the plight of a family struggling to deal with the consequences of President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy on illegal immigration.
The story, “Aunt’s Odyssey: To Reunite a Son And His Mother,” tells the story of Nila Serrano and her husband, Elmer, who are attempting to reunite Nila’s sister, Lupe, with her son, Danny, after the latter two were arrested at the border.
In the Journal‘s telling, the family is suffering new and unforeseen hardships because instead of merely flying to Texas and picking Danny up, she has to wait for more information from authorities. Danny is flown to a shelter in New York, then placed with a foster family in Manhattan, while Lupe is held in a detention center in El Paso until officials agree to release her on a $2,500 bond and allow her to travel to Maryland to join Nila and her family.
It is a sad story, yet it reveals the way in which illegal aliens are abusing the system.
First of all, Elmer Serrano is, like Lupe and Danny, from Honduras. Yet he is “a permanent U.S. resident who immigrated from Honduras,” the Journal notes. He is living proof that it is possible to immigrate legally.
Moreover, Nila herself is an American-born U.S. citizen. She could, under current law, petition to bring her sister legally to the United States.
The reason given for Lupe’s departure from Honduras: her husband was threatening her life because she had begun to let her ex, who is Danny’s birth father, “back into their life” (whatever that means). When local police failed to intervene, she “decided to flee to the U.S.,” where she requested asylum.
“Asylum” is meant for people fleeing political or religious persecution, not to evade marital disputes, even violent ones. (The U.S. has those, too, sadly.)
The Journal does not provide details about the “trek from their native Honduras,” or how Lupe and Danny crossed the border, but typically the journeys and crossings are very dangerous and involve paying smugglers who are part of violent cartels. However difficult the separation is for Lupe, the fact is that she chose to expose 8-year-old Lupe to extreme risks. No one represents the child’s welfare until U.S. authorities, supposedly the villains, intervene.
Finally, the Journal article prompts questions about the role played by Nila Serrano. There is no doubt that she is genuinely concerned for her family. Yet she is a U.S. citizen and familiar with immigration laws. The story provides no evidence that she advised her sister to make different choices, such as asking for asylum at a port of entry.
The problem of illegal immigration, with all its dangers, persists partly because so many of us are willing to tolerate it.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.