A family of Central American migrants from the caravan that arrived at the U.S.–Mexico border in May 2018. Photo: Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Trump administration last month announced it would systematically separate immigrant children from their parents at the border, reportedly to deter illegal immigration. This new policy poses risks to U.S. national security, weakens U.S. leadership in the world and undercuts American values.

Why it matters: Aiming to deter immigration through the suffering of children and families is inconsistent with the United States’ history and values. While purporting to hold Iran, Venezuela and Cuba to a high human rights bar, Trump is simultaneously surrendering leverage by violating these rights at home, opening up the U.S. to condemnation and accusations of hypocrisy.

The U.S. helped end genocide during World War II and then played an instrumental role in establishing an international framework to secure and protect human rights. American Presidents — Democrats and Republicans alike — have consistently championed them around the globe.

Further, Trump has slashed funding for good governance and sustainable development — which promotes stability in our backyard — rather than address the root causes of conflict behind these immigration flows. Congress worked with the Obama Administration to provide resources for partnerships aimed at curbing violence in Central America. Yet the current administration has cut funding and diplomatic efforts. In addition to ending DACA and the Temporary Protected Status of several countries, this latest move by the administration will only exacerbate the challenges driving families to flee.

What’s next: Congress must act to uphold the values underpinning the U.S. statutory framework for immigration. Congress should not stand by as, for example, mothers who are entitled to protection under the law — who present themselves at the border, seeking asylum because of persecution in their own country – are wrenched apart from their children.

The bottom line: The current situation is intolerable. The U.S. needs a smart, sensible and humane policy that protects its border while still safeguarding its values and global leadership.

Avril Haines is a former Deputy Director of the CIA and Deputy National Security Advisor. Cecilia Muñoz is a former Director of the Domestic Policy Council.

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LeBron James on Trump NBA protest remarks: "We could care less"

The Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James kneels during the national anthem before the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, on Wednesday. Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

LeBron James responded on Wednesday night to President Trump's comments calling NBA players "disgraceful" for kneeling during the national anthem to protest racism and that he won't watch games because of the action.

The big picture: Trump has repeatedly criticized sports players for taking the knee since 2016. But James said during a news conference, "I really don’t think the basketball community are sad about losing his viewership, him viewing the game." November's elections marked "a big moment for us as Americans," he said. "If we continue to talk about, 'We want better, we want change,' we have an opportunity to do that," he added. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said the league will "respect peaceful protest."

Go deeper: LeBron James forms voting rights group to inspire Black voters

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of midnight ET: 18,752,917 — Total deaths: 706,761— Total recoveries — 11,308,298Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of midnight ET: 4,821,296 — Total deaths: 158,249 — Total recoveries: 1,577,851 — Total tests: 58,920,975Map.
  3. Public health: Florida surpasses 500,000 confirmed casesFauci calls U.S. coronavirus testing delays "totally unacceptable."
  4. Business: America's next housing crisis.
  5. States: Virginia launches contact tracing app using specs from Apple and Google.
  6. Cities: L.A. mayor authorizes utilities shut-off at homes hosting large gatherings
  7. Politics: White House, Democrats remain "trillions of dollars apart" on stimulus talks.

L.A. mayor authorizes utilities shut-off at homes hosting large gatherings

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks during a January event in Los Angeles. Photo: Sarah Morris/Getty Images

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Wednesday he's authorized the city's Department of Water and Power (DWP) to shut down utilities at locations that host large gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic.

Driving the news: Garcetti's announcement follows a fatal shooting at a house party attended by roughly 200 people last Monday, the Los Angeles Times notes.