Due to the fairly recent announcement made by theDepartment of Homeland Security (DHS) that it would henceforth focus its efforts on “high priority” immigration cases- specifically, those involving serious criminals who are a threat to national securityor public safety – it is shocking to hear that DHS officers stationed along the U.S.-Mexico border have taken to detaining and sometimes arresting unauthorized immigrants as they try to leave theUnited States and return to Mexico . This indicates that after pouring billions of dollars into immigration enforcement programs to make the United States as unwelcoming as possible to foreign nationals, this country’s politics have now also made it possible to make their departure just as difficult and capable of tormenting them as they leave. Clearly, this policy is as nonsensical as it is cruel. While it is important to recognize that DHS efforts have been directed at stemming the flow of drug money and guns from the U.S. to Mexico so as to diminish the fueling of drug cartels – this case in point shows that sometimes their enforcement methods are misguided in their application. In this case, their behavior neither explains nor justifies why immigration agents are arresting immigrants who have no connections to drug money, guns smuggling or drug cartels. An anonymous “immigration official” told the New York Times : “We’re not trying to discourage anyone from leaving, but we do want to send the message that there are consequences for the breaking of immigration laws.” As Greg Siskind from theAmerican Immigration Lawyers Association points out, “bad policies have consequences as well. Unfortunately, everyone seems to have figured this out but the officials carrying out the bad policy.” Apparently, they are slow to see the irony in making it hard for unauthorized immigrants to leave the country after expending so much time, effort, and resources telling them to leave the country.
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