The Trump administration’s “Zero Tolerance” and “Operation Streamline” policies are a creating a legal and humanitarian disaster in our border communities.
On April 6, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered federal prosecutors to abandon their prosecutorial discretion and professional judgment in favor of a “Zero Tolerance” policy, requiring criminal charges against every person apprehended entering the United States without documentation.
Prosecutors may no longer employ common sense to determine the best use of court and government resources, for instance by prioritizing serious felonies over misdemeanor cases. It’s an intensified criminalization of migrants. This policy has predictably resulted in a drastic increase in prosecutions, severely straining court resources.
As a “solution,” the local U.S. Attorney’s Office is using the San Diego federal court to facilitate the attorney general’s enforcement agenda through the implementation of Operation Streamline in San Diego for the first time. Streamline has increased the total new federal cases daily to what was already one of the busiest federal criminal courts in the U.S.
Since it took effect in San Diego earlier this year, Operation Streamline has led to a 1,200 percent increase in prosecutions without a corresponding increase in court resources, including judges and attorneys.
To execute Operation Streamline, people have been held in ill-equipped, unsanitary and overcrowded conditions inside Border Patrol stations. In these stations, migrants have no access to adequate food, showers or legal counsel. It creates Orwellian scenes of people dragged en masse into courtrooms where they are convicted and sentenced in a matter of days.
We the people can end these injustices. We can create a more just and humane immigration system. Call on your congressional representatives and ask them to stop Zero Tolerance and end Operation Streamline.
The president’s anti-immigrant crusade has led to hastily conceived, costly, often inhumane and often illegal policies that are then poorly implemented. The treatment of immigrants by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), including Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), are particularly intolerable.
The administration’s mismanagement of public resources is not only fiscally irresponsible, it also has devastating human costs. For example:
- thousands of children forcibly separated from their parents;
- thousands of migrants prosecuted en masse under Operation Streamline;
- hundreds of immigrants languishing without attorneys in DHS detention centers;
- dozens of desperate asylum-seeking migrant families abandoned by ICE on San Diego streets without food, clothing, transportation or shelter; and most recently,
- dozens of unarmed men, women and children teargassed by CBP at the San Ysidro border crossing.
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