The New Yorker has published a report on the crisis at the southern border — now that more people are acknowledging that an actual crisis exists. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, for example, are beginning to long for the relatively less chaotic system in place under President Obama, even though they weren't big fans at the time. One reason is because it was reportedly "much easier" to deport illegal immigrants under the previous regime. (Emphasis added.)
President Obama was never popular among ice’s rank and file, but the detailed list of enforcement priorities he instituted, in 2014, which many in the agency initially resented as micromanagement, now seemed more sensible—and even preferable to the current state of affairs. The ICE officer said, "One person told me, ‘I never thought I’d say this, but I miss the Obama rules. We removed more people with the rules we had in place than with all this. It was much easier when we had the priorities. It was cleaner.’ " Since the creation of ice, in 2003, enforcement was premised on the idea that officers would primarily go after criminals for deportation; Trump, who views ice as a political tool to showcase his toughness, has abandoned that framework entirely. "I don’t even know what we’re doing now," the officer said. "A lot of us see the photos of the kids at the border, and we’re wondering, ‘What the hell is going on?’ " The influx of Central American migrants, the officer noted, has been an issue for more than a decade now, spanning three Presidential administrations. "No one built up the infrastructure to handle this, and now people are suffering at the border for it. They keep saying they were caught flat footed. That’s a bald-faced fucking lie."
Trump's critics overlook the fact that the troubling situation at the southern border, including some of the images floating around of detained children, predates Trump's presidency. Many of those photos were taken back when Obama was warning prospective migrants not to send their children to the U.S. border.
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"Our message absolutely is don't send your children unaccompanied, on trains or through a bunch of smugglers," Obama told ABC's George Stephanopoulos in 2014. "Do not send your children to the borders. If they do make it, they'll get sent back. More importantly, they may not make it."
For whatever reason, Democrats and the national media seemed less interesting in declaring such policies and rhetoric a "scandal" at the time.