Record number of immigrant families cross the border, challenging Trump
Despite what the Trump administration has been advertising, its policy of zero tolerance has not deterred immigrants from embarking on the journey across the U.S. border. In fact, the results are quite the opposite.
The Trump administration's battle to stop the flow of undocumented immigrants across the border with Mexico is increasingly desperate.
Despite threats from officials such as Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Vice President Mike Pence - who said that if immigrants were warned that they would be detained and separated from their families, they would stop trying to enter the country - the data collected by the government’s agencies have shown that immigrant families have not been deterred but, on the contrary, have felt more stimulated to attempt the trip.
At the beginning of August, the Washington Post reported that the number of immigrant families detained during the summer had practically not changed, and that a decline was expected during weeks of high temperatures but numbers would rise at the end of the season.
The premonition was more than accurate.
Border Patrol arrested about 17,000 families in September, an unprecedented number in the cross-border flow, according to a new report from the Post, representing an 80 percent increase since July.
The data was obtained by the media and would be part of an unpublished statistical report by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
"Large groups of 100 or more Central American parents and children have been crossing the Rio Grande and the deserts of Arizona to turn themselves in," the paper said. The immigrants argue they fear for their lives in their home countries and the families “are typically assigned a court date and released from custody.”
Presidential advisers such as Stephen Miller, Chief of Staff John F. Kelly or even Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders have insisted that the conversation should turn the blame on immigrants for "child trafficking," which would allow the establishment of new family separation policies.
Added to this, a new caravan of more than 2,000 Honduran immigrants has crossed the border to Guatemala and intends to reach the U.S. border to join the asylum seekers.
In desperation, President Trump has threatened to cut financial aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador if their governments "allow their citizens, or others, to journey through their borders and up to the United States."
However, as has been well proven in recent months, the credibility of the "hard hand" of the U.S. government is in a tailspin, and immigrants prefer to try their luck and continue entering in unprecedented flows.