Zero-tolerance policy is darkest moment

Mohammad Amjad Hossain from Virginia, USA | Published: July 31, 2018 22:13:57 | Updated: August 01, 2018 21:40:20

A drama has unfolded when a member of the four-member advisory board of the Department of Homeland Security in the United States, Elizabeth Holtzman, submitted her resignation letter on July 24 to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, on the ground of disastrous immigration policy being pursued by the present administration of President Donald Trump. The resignation letter reminded the administration of the fact that there was a time when the US welcomed refugees and immigrants, and how the US was currently squandering that in a catastrophic fashion. It may be noted that Elizabeth Holtzman was responsible for drafting the Refugee Act of 1980. The resignation letter of Elizabeth Holtzman appears to be a blistering condemnation of Trump's Zero tolerance separation policy.

Trump's executive order on July 21 seeking to end the separation of children from their parents is debatable. Critics are of the opinion that the order could lead to indefinite detention of entire families. As thousands of children were already separated from their families, the government has apparently no plan to reunite them with their parents.

The Democratic lawmakers seek abolition of the Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE). This agency of the Federal government works under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security. As a matter of fact, ICE has targeted hardworking people who have lived in the US for decades, such as a Mexican couple who were recently dragged away by ICE agents as they visited their soldier son at his military base in New York. The Trump administration has launched a programme to take away citizenship from naturalised Americans, and have ended a programme designed to let immigrants earn citizenship through military service. Ironically, the administration is understood to have cancelled protective status for Salvadoran and Haitian refugees (victims of natural disasters) and has assigned ICE to scoop up undocumented migrants with no criminal records.

True, President Trump's immigration policy has become a signature programme, adopted as a follow-up of the pledges he made during his presidential campaign. As many as eleven to twelve million illegal immigrants were in the US, while President Trump has repeatedly characterised them as criminals. Mr. Joe Biden, a former Senator and Vice-President of the US, came out with a statement on July 21 terming the resulting separation of thousands of migrant families as "One of the darkest moments in our history".

Mohammad Amjad Hossain is a retired diplomat from Bangladesh. amjad.21@gmail.com


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