Some of the solutions the the Trump administration has considered to deal with immigration are truly shocking.
In a new low even for Trump's anti-immigrant agenda, the administration contemplated sending immigrant children to a "dormitory facility" in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The proposal was floated earlier this year by the Department of Homeland Security, according to a Monday report in the New York Times.
The proposal was suggested to address the increased numbers of detained immigrants under Trump's aggressive policies, caused in part by his demand to curtail the ability of asylum-seekers to be released from detainment while awaiting trial. The practice of arresting and detaining undocumented immigrants across the country has also increased. As a result, the administration is running out of space to house immigrants on a long-term basis.
"We have to remember that it is a choice to jail asylum seekers, and it is a choice that is at odds with international human rights norms," Heidi Altman, director of policy at the National Immigrant Justice Center, told the Times.
Officials at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are looking to rent space in existing jails, and the Defense Department is considering using military bases to hold detained immigrants. The Trump administration has faced public outcries recently when Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-CA) described the horrid conditions immigrants endured at a tent city outside of El Paso, Texas.
One official told the Times that the Guantanamo Bay proposal was eventually rejected because the administration worried about the optics of housing children in such close proximity to terrorists. The United States military started holding alleged terrorists indefinitely at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp under George W. Bush.
Bad optics are par for the course for Trump's approach to immigration. His policy of separating children, including infants and toddlers, from their families and holding them in cages and tent cities was met with widespread condemnation by millions of people across the country as well as international bodies. The United Nations warned Trump's efforts "may amount to torture."
Last year, a judge ordered the administration to end the practice and reunite all of the children with their families, although the administration says it may take two years to actually do it.
It is unclear which migrant children officials contemplated sending to Guantanamo, but even considering the idea of shipping children to Cuba to hold them next to terrorists may be a new level of depravity for the Trump administration.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.