With the first round of democratic debates looming over the political landscape, policy discussions are on the forefront of every news cycle, and with it comes even more hysteria. Not only have many people compared the detainment process on the US-Mexico border to the holocaust, it has even come from our own government. With politicians such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claiming that the US is bordering on Nazi Germany levels of human rights abuses. No comparison could be more disingenuous and rhetoric like this only seeks to divide us even further.
Let's start with the process of applying for asylum when crossing the southern border. From the Immigration and Nationality Act, a refugee is stated to be: "Any person who is outside any country of such person's nationality or, in the case of a person having no nationality, is outside any country in which such person last habitually resided, and who is unable or unwilling to return to, and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of, that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion." The vast majority of those seeking asylum do not fall under this definition and are simply seeking to game the system to gain residence in the United States. There are ports of entry designed to take in refugees and help them apply for asylum to see if they are eligible to enter the United States. However, these entry points simply cannot process enough people, and the overflow turns into illegal border crossings. When apprehended, the immigrants have a choice of being immediately deported. This is when processing time begins to play a large factor. Since the families have to be detained while their cases are handled, detention centers along the border have begin to fill at an alarming rate. For example, in 2017, there were roughly 304,000 apprehensions at the southern border alone. Even if only half of those people apply for asylum, that is over 100,000 cases to work through, a seemingly impossible task. Here is where the humanitarian crisis begins to build and holocaust comparisons start being made.
Now we are left wondering what solutions are being proposed from either side. It turns out, there was a budget request sent out from the House of Representatives giving billions of dollars to expand detention centers to hold more people, fill them with beds, and give entry points better detection tools for drugs coming through the border. This request, however, was denied by democrats, including a 'no' vote from the aforementioned Ocasio-Cortez. It would seem that we are at a standstill between closing the southern border altogether or adopting an open border policy. Both extremes prove to be unreasonable.
It is propaganda of the highest order to suggest the United States is committing holocaust-esque atrocities at our southern border. It is true that we face a humanitarian crisis, however these people are coming here willingly and have to apply for asylum before being detained. Suggesting this process is equal to the systematic gathering and slaughtering of Jewish people during the holocaust is a poor attempt at drumming up emotion to gain votes and only serves to divide and harm us more.