One possible way to maintain balance, compassion, and better care for children with security and orderly processing of asylum seekers is to restart Alternatives to Detention (ATDs) through the Family Case Management Program (FCMP) that attaches caseworkers with migrant children and families. This is cheaper than detention and had a high success rate. DHS’s Office of Inspector General reported that “according to ICE, overall program compliance for all five regions is an average of 99 percent for ICE check-ins and appointments, as well as 100 percent attendance at court hearings.” Unfortunately, the Trump administration shut this program down in June 2017.
If the enforcement-deterrence only approach isn’t working to bring order out of chaos, perhaps we should also consider how compassion and upholding human dignity as values in the midst of this humanitarian disaster can help us find better solutions. Just over two weeks ago, the Evangelical Immigration Table, a coalition of 10 evangelical organizations and denominations including Russell Moore’s ERLC, released a letter calling upon the president and Congress to holistically address the humanitarian concerns of children and families in detention as they seek to secure the border and restore order out of chaos.
As a Christian, I do not believe that compassion is contradictory to order, well being, and proper governance. If it were, Jesus would not have called us all to have compassion and love for our neighbor in need, including the sojourner.