Just when you thought the immigration crisis in the United States couldn’t get any worse, President Trump is just getting warmed up. Yeah, he’s been talking a big game about massive walls that Mexico will, of course, fully fund. Words are wind. Where he really does damage is behind the scenes, where the money is.
A man of spectacle, he’s already caused incredible harm when families were separated at the U.S./Mexico border. Which, you should be reminded, still hasn’t been resolved; many families remain separated. It wasn’t great PR for his administration, but the problem is not getting better.
The administration recently announced that it would allocate $20 million in foreign assistance funding to pay for deportations. Specifically, the money will be used to help Mexico pay for air and ground transportation to deport around 17,000 people living in the United States illegally. This has been in the works for months now. According to State Department officials, the $20 million would be used to cover bus and plane tickets for migrants. This “migrant removals pilot” would eventually lead to the deportation of as many as 17,000 people.
“Congress intended for this money to lift up communities dealing with crime, corruption, and so many other challenges, not to expand this administration’s deportation crusade. I want answers about why the State Department thinks it can ignore Congress and dump more cash into deportation efforts. Until then, I’ll do whatever I can to stop this,” said New York State Democratic Representative Elliot Engel.
So, while people are attempting to escape violence, corruption, and trying to keep their families safe, the U.S. is shelling out millions for literal plane tickets to get people out.
Each year, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services reserves 10,000 EB-5 visas for immigrant investors. However, hundreds of migrant families trying to find refuge and safety, commonly fearing for their lives, are barred from entry.
While EB-5 visas help bring investment into the country, many migrants cross the border with little more than the clothes on their backs. If you don’t have access to cash, you’re fired. Of course, the administration isn’t without heavy resistance to their deportation efforts.
“We shouldn’t be paying another country to do our dirty work; we should actually be fixing our immigration system and helping these countries get back on solid footing. It smacks of desperation,” says Ali Noorani, head of the National Immigration Forum.
For those keeping score, Mexico still hasn’t paid one penny toward the construction of a border wall. However, with this latest move, the United States is paying Mexico millions to deport thousands of migrants.