It started with a question by Radley Balko about the accuracy of claims that “catch & release” put children in the hands of abusers. Like Radley, I was skeptical of the claims, but also considered what would happen when the sad story of some child enslaved came out. Much as it was unlikely this would be a huge problem, it was quite likely that it would happen, even if only to a few. How many is a few here? Beats me.
But since it only takes an anecdote for a deep dive into inductive reasoning to confirm the unwavering bias that this is all because we are suddenly horrified and exhausted, would we be capable as a nation of accepting an imperfect solution, or would we just ping pong between hatred for one policy or hatred for another, because there was no option but to assign blame?
Would people be tolerant of “catch & release” for children of immigrants even if a few were killed, enslaved or put into porn? Not a lot, just a few. Imperfect but better than cages?
— Scott Greenfield (@ScottGreenfield) June 18, 2018
As usual, the responses were largely idiotic, irrelevant and/or baseless, although the proponents were certain of their righteousness and brilliance. My favorite was the “big brain” theory, a particularly stupid response that shrugs off responsibility beyond virtue signalling under the certainty that some smarter person somewhere must obviously have the perfect answer, thus absolving herself from any effort to think.
But smart people were chiming in on the subject all over twitter. The only problem is they were uniform in their condemnation of the policy of separating children from parents, but offered nothing in its place.
A few responses, however, brought actual facts into the mix. Andrew Fleischman found stats showing that asylum seekers released on bond had a 98% return rate with counsel, 86% without counsel. These numbers came from an advocacy group. In contrast, a post at Marshall Project gave a lower rate, but without any nuance or basis, as is typical of the quality of its posts.
Of nearly 100,000 parents and children who have come before the courts since 2014, most asking for refuge, judges have issued rulings in at least 32,500 cases, court records show. The majority – 70 percent – ended with deportation orders in absentia, pronounced by judges to empty courtrooms.
Mario Machado then introduced some trench reality into the situation.
Problem is, for those caught at the border, immigration judges do not have jurisdiction to issue a bond. For starters, that law would have to change
— Mario A. Machado (@Mario_A_Machado) June 18, 2018
And just to end the persistent compulsion to make this the usual tribal debate, the separation of children from parents happened under Obama as well as now, and all the beloved politicians and media celebrities bemoaning its immorality are either morons or hypocrites. Having acknowledged this, let’s get past it.
There are children at this very moment in detention centers separated from their parents (if they are parents, which isn’t necessarily true or clear) who need to be addressed. What do we do with them now?
No one cares about your fantasy reinvention of the entirety of immigration; deal with the problem on the table. No one cares that Trump isn’t the first to do this; deal with the problem on the table. No one cares how sad this makes you feel, how immoral this is or how something must be done. What must be done?
Deal with the reality. Deal with the law, immigration court practice, statistics and facts. Deal with the tribal antagonisms that make every flawed approach untenable because every option has its problems and Trump-haters will hate whatever he does, even if it’s the least cruel option possible.**
There are kids alone in caged Walmarts at this very moment. So what do we do with the children?
*Tuesday Talk rules apply.
**For the unduly passionate, is your concern for the welfare of these living, breathing children stronger than your hatred of Trump? If not, and you will condemn him as “literally Hitler” no matter what he does, then the children are collateral damage to you, just as they are when used as a “deterrent.” Is your hatred of Trump more important than the welfare of these children?