Sunday, July 21, 2024

Former ICE Director says closing the border could end up hurting Americans

John Sandweg, a former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said that President Trump’s apparent plan to close the southern border would do “absolutely nothing” to curb the number of people illegally crossing to the U.S. from Mexico.

Sandweg, who temporarily headed the federal immigration agency under the Obama administration, told CNN yesterday that the president has the authority to close-down ports of entry but warned it would hurt Americans if he did. “The miles and miles of trucks waiting to come into the United States ― importing produce, manufactured goods, the hundreds of thousands of workers who work for U.S. businesses legally but live in Mexico ― all that’s going to be shut down,” Sandweg said.

“And it’s going to do nothing ― absolutely nothing ― to stop the flow of Central Americans into this country,” he added. Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said Sunday that it would take “something dramatic” for Trump to not shut down the U.S.-Mexico border this week.

A day earlier, the U.S. cut aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and accused them of having “set up” caravans of migrants and sending them toward the U.S. But experts say cutting aide to these three countries is counterproductive and will likely drive more migrants to the U.S.

“The administration sees an opportunity in this crisis,” Sandweg said. “The immigration folks in the administration have never liked the asylum laws. They don’t like the idea that the United States provides a safe haven for people fleeing political persecution.” He added that Trump’s long-promised border wall “makes no sense” and won’t be “terribly effective” at reducing the number of undocumented immigrants coming into the U.S.

Sandweg added: “This is a different type of situation than we’ve ever dealt with at the border before. These people are not trying to sneak into the United States and evade capture. They want to surrender right away because they know that [the Department of Homeland Security] is currently overwhelmed. So, no, the wall is not going to do anything about it.”