Understanding asylum seekers and illegal immigrants


Now that there have been two responses to the letter “Bad Policies Can Take Decades to Heal”, it is evident that there is misunderstanding regarding asylum seekers and illegal immigrants crossing the border. Both letters referred to the U.S. being a country of laws.

It is absolutely legal to present oneself at a port of entry and request asylum. In fact, it is the only way people can request asylum. To get an idea as to how many are asylum seekers, I am using available figures from only one detention facility. As of June 30, there were 326 children being detained in a “tent city” in Tornillo, Texas. 98 percent of these children are from Guatemala (17th highest rate of violent deaths), Honduras (4th highest rate of violent deaths) and El Salvador (2nd highest rate of violent deaths). As a parent/grandparent, I would do everything in my power to protect my family. Why is that so hard to understand?

Mr. Tolman claims that separating children from their parents happened under Obama, which is inaccurate. Obama’s Juvenile Referral Process detained older unaccompanied minors suspected of smuggling drugs or other immigrants across the border. They were housed in Office of Refugee Resettlement facilities in order to extract intelligence and cut down on smuggling. The pilot program lasted for slightly more than one year. Again, unaccompanied minors were detained — minors with parents were not separated.

Mr. Tolman and Mr. and Mrs Kliekamp stressed that we are a nation of laws; however, there is no law requiring the separation of kids from their parents. There are laws that cover kidnapping and child abuse — which is what the U.S. Government has done. A judge has ordered that all children under the age of 5 be reunited with their parents by July 10, 2018, which our government was unable to do (they reunited less than half of the 102 kids under age 5 ) and has admitted that they don’t know the whereabouts of almost half of the parents. This is an inhumane travesty and it is unfortunate that people want to believe lies without doing research.

Teresa Ross