If you’ve been on the internet in the past few days, it was impossible to avoid the articles and social media posts assailing the Trump administration for failing to keep track of 1,500 immigrant children who arrived at the United States border alone. Many well-intentioned people flooded the web with their outrage: How could the Trump administration release these children so quickly that it’s losing track of them?
In fact, the problem is just the opposite. The administration is not releasing them fast enough.
What has happened is that many people have confused the 1,500 children whom the government has not kept track of with children cruelly separated from their families at the border — a definite but different problem. That mistake and the resulting calls for greater control and surveillance of immigrant children could unwittingly fuel the president’s true agenda: to repeal crucial legal protections for children in immigration custody, to slow their release and to deport thousands of children who have come seeking refuge from violence and persecution.