There has been a lot of debate on the immigration policy of the United States. The recent debacle surrounding the detention of the illegal immigrants in cages caught up international attention, which put pressure on the Trump Administration to change the policy so that it no longer violates human rights. US President Donald Trump had ended the practice of separating the children from the illegal immigrant families at the border in an executive order signed on June 20, 2018. But, that did not necessarily end the unjustifiable treatment of the illegal immigrants following the ‘zero tolerance’ policies of the United States.
The executive order signed by the President of US just ensures that the families are not separated. But, the requirement for prosecuting and/or detaining the immigrants who have entered US unlawfully is still there. So, the asylum-seekers, children and all others would still be detained and prosecuted. But, the families would not be separated. It is unclear as to how the US will proceed with the families as the children being kept in the same enclosures as adults would probably create another uproar in the families as the mental stability of the children might be eroded by that. The ‘zero tolerance’ policy violates many of the international treaties meant to protect the human rights and due to that Courts around the world have condemned these violations of human rights law. US President Trump had defended his policy by claiming that his opponents in the US Government, “don’t care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country like MS-13”. Now, MS-13 here is a reference to an international criminal gang that started in Los Angeles and spread across the continent.
The Policy to detain the immigrants for unlawful entry goes against the ‘Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees’ and the ‘Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees’, which was ratified by the United States. Many of the so called, ‘illegal immigrants’ have entered unlawfully because they were being persecuted in their nation of origin because of their race, religion, nationality, or membership in a particular social group or political opinion. When the US government detains and prosecuted these asylum-seekers, it violates the rights protected under these treaties. Furthermore, the reported conditions of the detention violate the rights provided by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The American Academy of Paediatrics, which had found the detention to be of inhumane nature clearly reported, “Conditions in US detention facilities which include forcing children to sleep on cement floors, open toilets, constant light exposure, insufficient food and water, no bathing facilities, and extremely cold temperatures, are traumatizing for children.”
The Trump Administration has not gone a step further as the memo released by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services on July 5 disclosed a plan to start issuing notices to appear for a wider range of cases than before. These notices, which require an immigrant to appear before an immigration judge on a certain date, can be the first step in deportation proceedings. The USCIS has recently hired dozens of lawyers and immigration officers to review cases of immigrants who are suspected of having lied to officials during the naturalization process. It was also found out that about 88 immigrants who had been ordered deported or removed under another name were granted US Citizenship.
The Trump Administrations Immigration policy is therefore, going not only for the illegal immigrants but for the legal immigrants as well. Though the memo of USCIS is claimed to ensure the nations immigration laws are faithfully executed to keep communities safe and secure, the Immigration lawyers are not so sure about it. Anastasia Tonello, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association had said, “The memos are really, layer by layer, going after people who are in line doing the right things”.
This new-found power given to the USCIS and the inhumane conditions of the detention facilities set up by the US Military Service near the Borders serves as a clear signal to a new era in the United States. The Immigration Policy of United States is now, more than ever, anti-immigrant. Even the legal immigrants are unsafe from the review of the USCIS, as seen by the denaturalization of six individuals in the past few months. Its not hard to think that the Trump Administration assumes that people who are trying to go through the legal process for immigration are also somehow sinister.