The Family Separation Crisis Exposes America’s Addiction to Incarceration

The continuing cruelty on display at our southern border has unleashed a righteous, primal scream of revulsion from Americans across the ideological spectrum. The outrage, plus a successful ACLU legal effort in San Diego, seems to have helped turn the tide toward family reunification. However, the common refrain seems to be, “This is not who we are,” as if ripping families apart to punish or deter crime is so novel and grotesque that it’s unrecognizable as American.

The truth is that the criminal justice system we are imposing on immigrants is a reflection of the one we impose on our own — and both need fixing. At the border, we are taking children from desperate parents based on misdemeanor border crossing — or based on no illegality at all, if the family has properly presented itself for asylum.  

But every day inside the United States, we do a version of this to tens of thousands of our own citizens. Judges and prosecutors impose cash bail that keeps parents locked up and apart from their families prior to trial, and children’s services agencies often remove kids from their parents based on unsubstantiated criminal allegations as proof of parental unfitness.   

Every day, roughly 450,000 people are held in jail pretrial — meaning they are presumed innocent of any crime — and a significant portion of those are behind bars because they cannot afford bail. Worse yet, the arrest that resulted in pretrial detention is routinely used to justify a criminal temporary order of protection, or triggers the removal of children by a family court, even before the state proves the crime.

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Dr. Timothy Leary

A few people entering the country illegally or seeking asylum is one thing, but if they are coming in by the thousands like a tsunami it's another. You have to draw the line somewhere. From what I read else where on the internet in June of 2018 34,000 people were apprehended crossing the border.


But is drawing the line forcibly separating children from their parents? That seems like a drastic gesture that does nothing but traumatize some of the most vulnerable among us.


Even Merkel is agreeing to open detention centers. We cannot take in the entire populations of 3 Central American countries plus a good portion of Mexico plus whoever else shows up. We are obligated, per the treaty we signed, to grant asylum under specific conditions. People meeting those conditions need priority so we can keep our word. Right now those people are getting lost in the backlog which isn't right. We needs limits and boundaries so we can get the process under control to fullfil our obligations to real asylum seekers, US Citizens, and others we invited into our Country.

Charlie brewer

You people don’t make any sense , y’all want the children to stay with the families, ok so if I break the Law do my children get to go to jail with me ? No d.h.s. Will take them and place them pending the outcome of my legal situation! These people are breaking the law and they’re not even United States citizens and they have more rights than those of us that are paying for it with our tax money ? CAN YOU SAY STUPID


Do you people have any clue what is happening? I mean any fucking clue? The US military is now targeting US dissidents en masse. I saw an Iraqi license plate drive down the main street in my town just last week, you think Trump is clamping down on the borders and screwing over immigrant families, somehow, I guess, I mean what the fuck, "Hey you are being deported." Them: "OK, can I take my kids back to my country?" Border Patrol: "Nah, they gotta stay here." You illiterates really think thats whats going on?

I mean give me a break, are you people that fucking deluded? Really? God these people play you like a fiddle, get you all kind of worked up over whether %0.000000001 of the population should use which bathroom. Meanwhile they are taxing you at 50% of your meager wages while those running the show are paying like 0%. And doing real nasty shit to people like me who still somehow managed to retain the brain cells not to fall for this nonsense. WAKE UP WAKE UP WAKE UP, there is alot more going on around you than what they want you to focus on.

They want you to focus on nonsense and get all agitated and spend your energy on stuff that really never has any bearing on your life. DO YOU FUCKERS REALIZE THAT THE U.S. FUCKING MILITARY IS ACTIVELY TARGETING 10s OF THOUSANDS OF U.S. CITIZENS RIGHT HERE ON U.S. SOIL WHOSE ONLY CRIME IS GETTING A BIT POIGNANT AND SURLY IN THE COMMENTS SECTIONS?

They are gearing up to take out any dissident who still has a brain left and shovel us into camps, and you zombified fuckers will probably cheer then shuffle back to the Lazy-Boy in a Cheeto haze to get your fill of NFL. Panem et Circenses for the 21st century. I could give a fuck, I'm ready to die, I want off this fucking ride.

I realize I sound crazy, but I have proof in case anyone out there still has 2 brain cells to rub together. The ACLU was kick ass in the 80s, but hasn't rustled a single goddamn feather since.


The difference between a pit bull and a social worker is that with a pit bull you have a chance of getting your kid back.

Neil Murray

We do incarcerate too many people. We lead the world in percentage of population in prison, surpassing even Russia. Overprosecuting for minor offenses is a major factor. At the same time, we need to distinguish between refugees and migrants, giving priority to the first, whose need for sanctuary is far greater.

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