In response to gang related violence and drug cartels, thousands of families have fled their countries to seek refuge in the United States. This shift in immigration is known as the Central American Refugee Crisis. U.S. Federal Bureau Investigation indicates that El Salvador leads with a homicide rate of 60% while Honduras following with a rate of 42.8%, and Guatemala with rate of 26.1%. In addition to the dangerous journey, many days without water, and gun fire, President Trump’s Zero Tolerance Policy may be the most concerning obstacle families must overcome.
In early January 2017, President Trump signed Executive Order 13767 entitled Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements to target undocumented immigrants for various “criminal offenses”. His order shocked the world because it widened the range of undocumented immigrants that were at further risk for deportation. As this Executive Orders indicates, no undocumented immigrant is safe from President Trump’s immigration policy.
In addition, many politicians were scandalized by President Trump’s immigration policy because it contrasts tremendously with President Obama’s administration’s efforts.The distinction is that President Obama never actively sought out undocumented immigrants across a general spectrum of criminal offenses. His administration’s efforts focused on major crimes such as murder or drug trafficking and not misdemeanors.
However, it was not until April of 2018, that the administration decided to act on their Zero Tolerance Policy. Specifically, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has spoken out saying that all undocumented immigrants are subject to persecution. As a result, the magnitude of immigrants affected by President Trump’s policies increased dramatically over June 2018. The most recent evidence of the Zero Tolerance Policy is the detention facilities used to contain undocumented immigrant children.
However, in response to the recent backlash the current administration has had from former advisors, friends, and media regarding undocumented children in detention facilities, the President issued Executive Order 13841, entitled Affording Congress an Opportunity to Address Family Separation. A the Executive Order indicates, it will overturn the previous effects of the Zero Tolerance Policy. Parents and children will no longer be separated. Instead, the Department of Homeland and Security will work to towards maintaining custody of parents and children jointly until the immigration cases are closed.