Stuart Anderson, May 9, 2018 – “Imagine your child faces death or enslavement at the hands of predators and all legal avenues of escape and refuge have been blocked. Would you attempt to enter another country unlawfully and seek asylum? Found hiding in an attic, Anne Frank died in the Holocaust after her father exhausted all legal means of escape, including being unable to get a visa to America. If her father had entered the United States without papers and asked for asylum should he have been prosecuted for illegal entry? Should he have been prosecuted for “smuggling” his own child?
“The Anne Frank analogy to the current Department of Justice policy is appropriate,” Stephen Yale-Loehr, a Cornell Law School professor and an advisor to the National Foundation for American Policy, told me in an interview. “The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes the right of persons to seek asylum. It defeats that purpose to prosecute them instead for illegal entry or smuggling.” … Sessions said the Department of Homeland Security would refer “100 percent of illegal Southwest Border crossings to the Department of Justice for prosecution.” He is sending 35 prosecutors and 18 immigration judges to take up the new caseload. Sessions declared, “If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law.” It is unclear whether parents are now facing charges for “smuggling” for traveling with their child across the border unlawfully but the threat is there. Attorneys have told me there already are many cases of parents being prosecuted for illegal entry even if they apply for asylum.
Moreover, if parents come to a lawful port of entry and request asylum, many parents are being separated from their children and held in detention facilities. In other words, if mothers or fathers approach a lawful port of entry and request asylum, even if they are not prosecuted for unlawful entry, they will still be separated from their child. Not only can this be traumatic for both parent and child, attorneys argue doing so as a deterrent may be unlawful. … Some may argue that a parent with children fleeing from deadly gangs in Central America is not analogous to the situation of Anne Frank. Her family had no legal way to enter America, just like the girls fleeing today from Honduras and El Salvador. However, unlike them, Anne Frank did not attempt to enter the United States illegally. She died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.”