Manufacturing a crisis

Something doesn’t add up here.

US detention centers that hold migrant parents and children have been nearly empty for months, despite Donald Trump’s administration repeatedly warning that the US-Mexico border is at a “breaking point” because of the surge in Central American families fleeing poverty and violence.

There were nearly 2,000 empty beds in two detention centers last week, with a facility in Dilley, Texas, at 26% capacity and a facility in Berks county, Pennsylvania, at 19% capacity. On 1 April, the third family shelter was temporarily changed into a facility for adult women only.

ICE says that the lack of transportation is  why the detention centers are largely vacant. Even if that’s the case, it calls the administration’s narrative into question. The situation in Central America that’s led to a wave of asylum seekers has been brewing for a while; is it that the numbers are not as overwhelming as is claimed, or just that our immigration system is being run incompetently and thus is unable to deal with it?

One could look at what’s going on – people legally seeking asylum being turned away or detained, and therefore trying to enter the US at places other than border crossing points – and wonder if we’re looking at intentional mismanagement designed to heighten tension and create a crisis.

It does seem like a way to rally the anti-immigrant base – who still can’t distinguish between illegal border crossers and legal asylum seekers – in advance of the next election. Or to take everyone’s mind off of impeachable offenses. Or convince people that a giant, ecologically-disastrous wall is required.

Meanwhile, those fleeing violence at home are met with this clusterfuck. Welcome to America, people; sorry, it’s not what it’s always claimed to be anymore.

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