Jun 7, 2018

Family separation policies hurt U.S. global standing, leadership

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.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 p.m. ET: 1,506,936 — Total deaths: 90,057 — Total recoveries: 340,112Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 p.m. ET: 432,596 — Total deaths: 14,831 — Total recoveries: 24,235Map.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump is preparing to launch a second coronavirus task force focused on reviving the U.S. economy.
  4. Public health latest: U.S. has expelled thousands of migrants under coronavirus public health orderDr. Anthony Fauci said social distancing could reduce the U.S. death toll to 60,000.
  5. Business latest: The Fed will lend up to $2.3 trillion for businesses, state and city governments — Another 6.6 million jobless claims were filed last week.
  6. World update: Boris Johnson is moved out of ICU but remains in hospital with coronavirus
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Your hydroxychloroquine questions answered.
  8. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Boris Johnson moved out of ICU but remains in hospital with coronavirus

Johnson last December. Photo: Kate Green/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved out of intensive care but is continuing to be monitored at St. Thomas' Hospital in London, according to a Downing Street spokesperson.

Why it matters: It's a sign of improvement after Johnson spent three nights in intensive care for coronavirus. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab remains in charge of the government.

Go deeperArrow8 mins ago - World

A pause button for debts

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Governments have forcibly put much of the U.S. and the global economy on pause in recent weeks, for very good reason. Factories, offices, sporting arenas, restaurants, airports and myriad other institutions have closed down. But one thing hasn't been paused: monthly debt-service obligations.

The big picture: The less movement and activity there is in an economy, the more the coronavirus curve is flattened. But the obligations in bond and loan contracts can't be paused. That's worrying CEOs who fear a wave of business failures if economic activity doesn't pick up next month.