Deterrence isn’t a solution to immigration issues

Deterrence isn’t a solution to immigration issues

Originally published by The Washington Post

Regarding the Aug. 18 front-page article “The adviser who scripts Trump’s border policy”:

While the buck stops with White House senior adviser Stephen Miller’s boss, we can and should poke holes in Mr. Miller’s arguments where they have so badly served the president and the nation.

First, Mr. Miller uses deterrence as the rationale for inhumane treatment of asylum seekers and asserts that publicizing it “is not a bad strategy.” The result — a “PR nightmare” from both family separations and “squalid and inhumane detention conditions at the border.” The world’s worst leaders rationalize the deterrent effect of their inhumane government practices. Their barbarism far exceeds the deterrence measures in which Mr. Miller takes comfort. But the United States’ global influence suffers disproportionately when we drop our standards.

No level of deterrence stops the overwhelming compulsion to flee the corrupt, gang-driven hell of the Northern Triangle. Without engaging root causes, we just keep nursing the problem.

The omnipresent, anti-humanitarian Miller ecosystem must have resonated with the Office of Management and Budget, which in effect eviscerated the United States’ legendary international humanitarian leadership in the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration by shifting its authorities and most of its funding to the U.S. Agency for International Development in the proposed 2020 budget. American exceptionalism is again at stake. It’s up to Congress now to save it from extinction.

Arthur E. "Gene" Dewey, Washington

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