Things That Matter

This Man Created The Policy To Separate Families And Now He Might Be The Head Of DHS

There is news out of Washington that the White House is strongly looking at the possibility of appointing Chad Wolf, the current acting undersecretary for strategy at the Department of Homeland Security and former chief of staff to then-Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, to head DHS. Wolf is among two other candidates being considered for the position, along with Director of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli and Customs and Border Protection chief Mark Morgan. 

It has become apparent that neither of them would likely get the position. This is due to information from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel that concluded that the two aren’t eligible to take the role because they had yet to serve at least 90 days under the last Senate-confirmed Homeland Security secretary, Nielsen. 

Since Kevin McAleenan announced his resignation over a week ago, becoming the fourth secretary to serve under the Trump administration, there have been many questions about who will fill the role. During McAleenan’s short tenure, which started in April, there were a handful of controversies including a spike in US-Mexico border apprehensions. This in return led to overcrowding and long stays for migrants under US Border Patrol custody at the southern border.

Now with an opening at the head position, Wolf looks to be the front runner as of now but there are many questions and concerns about his track record. 

Who is Chad Wolf and why are so many eyebrows being raised about the possibility of him taking the reins as the head of the Department of Homeland Security?

Credit: @Senjeffmerkley / Twitter

The possible appointment of Wolf has come with some concerns, mainly because of his central role in the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy that led to thousands of children being separated from their parents at the border last year. During his time as acting chief of staff to Secretary Nielsen, Wolf created a list of 16 options that would help deter the number of undocumented immigrants coming to the U.S. border to Gene Hamilton, counselor to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, to overlook. The second suggestion on that list was the plan to “separate family units.” 

The controversial family separation policy ended after President Trump exercised executive action in June due to mounting backlash over the immigration deterrence plan. Wolf, who was acting chief of staff to Secretary Nielsen when the policy was in place, would later be questioned about that during his Senate confirmation hearing for his current undersecretary role

“My job wasn’t to determine whether it was the right or wrong policy. My job, at the time, was to ensure that the secretary had all the information,” Wolf said at the confirmation. 

While there is some support in the White House to appoint Wolf, there are still some doubts that he can lead the department to the approval of President Trump.

Credit: @MHackman / Twitter

The role of leading DHS is one that comes with a lot of scrutiny, from in and outside the White House. According to NBC News, there is uncertainty among some in the administration that Wolf will be able to lead DHS with the “tough” stance mentality to win over President Trump.

“There’s been no one more committed to the DHS mission and the president’s agenda than Chad, who’s helped implement the policies credited to addressing record levels of illegal crossings at the border,” the senior DHS official told NBC News. “He’s mainly a process guy and played that part to a T as chief of staff to Nielsen,” the official said. “Substantively, he’s an aviation security type with some high-tech related immigration experience. His experience that lines up with [Trump’s] agenda, particularly on border issues, was cobbled together from working for Nielsen.”

Wolf’s beginnings in DHS came at it’s inception shortly after 9/11 when he worked for the Transportation Security Administration and again joined the department after Trump took office in 2016. He has also spent years advocating for “cheap foreign tech workers” as a lobbyist for the National Association of Software and Service Companies, which speaks for Indian and U.S. companies that seek to hire foreign workers with advanced degrees in the H-1B visa program. 

“Going with a career official or someone who once lobbied to replace American workers with cheap foreign labor sends the wrong signal right before an election year,” RJ Hauman, government relations director at the Federation for American Immigration Reform, told Politico. “President Trump can choose to be on the side of his base and American workers, or throw in his lot with the swamp.”

READ: Veteran Sues Police Department After He Called For Help Only To Have Cops Put Him On A Psych Hold

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9-Year-Old Migrant Girl Drowns While Trying to Cross the Rio Grande in the U.S.

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9-Year-Old Migrant Girl Drowns While Trying to Cross the Rio Grande in the U.S.

Photo via Getty Images

On March 20th, U.S. Border Patrol agents found a 9-year-old migrant girl unresponsive along with her mother and sibling on an island in the Rio Grande.

U.S. Border Patrol agents attempted to resuscitate the family. The agents were able to revive the mother and her younger, 3-year-old child. The Border Patrol agents transferred the 9-year-old migrant girl to emergency medics in emergency medics in Eagle Pass, Texas, but she remained unresponsive.

In the end, the 9-year-old migrant girl died–the cause of death being drowning.

The mother of the two children was Guatemalan while the two children were born in Mexico.

The death of the 9-year-old migrant girl is notable because this is the first migrant child death recorded in this current migration surge. And experts worry that it won’t be the last.

And while this is the first child death, it is not the only migrant who has died trying to make it across the border. On Wednesday, a Cuban man drowned while trying to swim across the border between Tijuana and San Diego. He was the second migrant to drown in just a two-week period.

Why is this happening?

According to some reports, the reason so many migrants are heading towards the U.S. right now is “because President Trump is gone”. They believe they have a better chance of claiming asylum in the U.S.

Another factor to take into consideration is that a large number of these migrants are unaccompanied minors. According to migrant services volunteer Ruben Garcia, Title 42 is actually having the opposite effect of its intent. President Trump enacted Title 42 to prevent immigration during COVID-19 for “safety reasons”.

“Families that have been expelled multiple times that are traveling with children,” Garcia told PBS News Hour. “Some of them are making the decision to send their children in by themselves, because they have families someplace in the U.S., and they know their children will be released to them.”

Is there a “border crisis”?

That depends on who you ask. According to some experts, the numbers of migrants heading to the U.S./Mexico border aren’t out-of-the-ordinary considering the time of year and the fact that COVID-19 made traveling last year virtually impossible.

According to Tom Wong of the University of California at San Diego’s U.S. Immigration Policy Center, there is no “border crisis”. “This year looks like the usual seasonal increase, plus migrants who would have come last year but could not,” Wong says.

As the Washington Post explained: “What we’re seeing right now is a predictable seasonal shift. When the numbers drop again in June and July, policymakers may be tempted to claim that their deterrence policies succeeded.”

What is the Biden Administration planning on doing about it?

As of now, it is pretty evident that the Biden Administration has not been handling this migrant surge well, despite ample warning from experts. As of now, President Biden has put Vice President Harris in charge of handling the issues at the border.

As of now, the game plan is still very vague. But in the past, the Biden Administration has stated that they plan to fix the migrant surge at the source. That means providing more aid to Central America in order to prevent further corruption of elected officials.

They also want to put in place a plan that processes children and minors as refugees in their own countries before they travel to the U.S. The government had not tested these plans and they may take years to implement. Here’s to hoping that these changes will prevent a case like the death of the 9-year-old migrant girl.

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Biden Administration’s Handling Of The Border Criticized By Both Sides Of The Aisle

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Biden Administration’s Handling Of The Border Criticized By Both Sides Of The Aisle

The Biden administration inherited more than an out of control pandemic when they got to work in January. The former administration also left the Biden administration an orchestrated crisis at the border. For some, President Joe Biden is not acting fast enough to fix the problem.

President Biden announced that Vice President Kamala Harris will lead the response to immigration at the border.

The approach, according to Politico, is going to be a two-pronged approach to effectively curb irregular immigration. First, the vice president will focus on stopping the migration journey by addressing the issues in the countries that people are fleeing. Particularly, Vice President Harris will be focusing on the issues in the Northern Triangle countries, which are El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

At the same time, the vice president will be working with the countries directly to solve the root problems. Vice President Harris will be working to strengthen the nation’s relations with Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

“I can think of nobody who is better qualified to do this,” President Biden told reporters at the White House.

There is a lot of talk about the U.S.-Mexico border right now from both Democrats and Republicans.

Bruno Lozano, the Democratic mayor of Del Rio, Texas, is calling on the Biden administration to take steps to curb the issue. Mayor Lozano was a guest on Fox News recently and spoke about what he saw as an influx of migrants coming into his town. Mayor Lozano told Fox News that the number of people coming to the border has strained Customs and Border Patrol in his city.

“You have a breach on national security levels that have never before been seen in modern history and you’re not even batting an eye about it, you’re not even calling it a ‘crisis‘, you’re calling it a quote-unquote challenge,” Mayor Lozano, told the New York Post on Sunday. “It’s a slap in the face.”

Some residents of Del Rio are critical of their local leaders shifting blame for their own shortcomings.

The brutal winter storm that recently shut down Texas depleted many municipalities of their resources. Residents in Del Rio are putting the blame on their local leaders who have tried to pass the buck. Weeks after the winter storm crippled Texas, grocery store shelves remained empty and residents felt overlooked.

Mayor Lozano has been pleading with President Biden to step up and help them deal with the influx of migrants. Del Rio has one processing center for migrants and the increase has left the city and the processing facility strained.

The Biden administration has faced backlash after photos of detention centers show people sleeping on floors.

There have been several reports that the Biden administration is building new places to hold migrants that have come to the border seeking asylum. The administration is currently taking in unaccompanied minors who are arriving at the border while preventing other migrants from crossing the border.

The Biden administration promised to change the approach to the border, but Title 42 has been left intact. Title 42, which was enacted by the former administration at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, keeps people from entering the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order that invoked Title 42, which closed the border indefinitely due to public health concerns.

At the root of the attention is the claim that there is a surge of migrants.

Some Republican politicians are claiming that news of more lenient immigration laws is prompting a “surge” of arrivals. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California claims that what is happening is a “crisis … created by the presidential policies of this new administration.”

Yet, a Washington Post report debunks the idea that there is a sudden surge. Rather, what is happening, according to the report, is a usual seasonal trend. CBP has reported a 28 percent increase in apprehensions at the southern border in January and February but data shows an annual spike in migrants from March to May every year.

The issues on the border are complex and will require a lot of time and energy to handle effectively and compassionately. The Biden administration promised to tackle the complex issue of immigration during the campaign.

READ: Biden Is Counting On Mexico’s President To Help With Immigration But That’s A Risky Move

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