Have We Mismanaged the Southern Border? CMS Paper Argues that the Problem Goes Back to the Obama Administration

In this essay, author Rena Cutlip-Mason reviews the U.S. government’s response to the influx of immigrants from the Central American “Northern Triangle” countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala between 2011-2016.  The paper critiques the Trump administration’s “extreme border policies,” while also faulting the Obama administration for failing to deal effectively with the root causes of the Central American migration crisis. The unanticipated sharp rise of child migration that began in 2012, the increase in the migration of family groups beginning in the spring of 2014 and the sustained influx of both of these groups through 2015 has posed a major challenge to the government’s housing capacity and human resources. In response, the U.S. government adopted a strategy of deterrence, which included the use of family detention centers. This strategy has been largely ineffective as evidenced by the unabated migration of children and families seeking asylum in the United States Concluding that “the U.S. immigration system – which was designed for a different era in our history – is too inflexible to accommodate changed and evolving migration patterns,” the author outlines a number of recommendations for reform of the system, including: the establishment of a robust in-country refugee processing program; creating alternatives to detention; establishing a fair and independent immigration court system; providing improved access to counsel; increasing communication and cooperation within government; and addressing the underlying causes for migration. (Kristine Germar for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)

Moving Away from Crisis Management:  How the United States Can Strengthen Its Response to Large-Scale Migration Flows
Center for Migration Studies of New York, 2019
Author: Rená Cutlip-Mason
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