Kudos to Democrats. They have managed to successfully maneuver this whole children being separated from their illegal alien parents fiasco into two features that play to their strengths. First it is almost entirely an emotional issue devoid of any facts or reasoning. Second it has become an all or nothing deal. Right now the options on the border are detaining kids separately from parents or a de facto open borders free-for-all, which is what Democrats want. Although Senator Ted Cruz has a proposed bill that would help the problem, it would also require coming up with hundreds of immigration judges that I don't think we have sitting around not to mention the expensive construction of additional family units for detention which will take a long time along with a bunch of money. So here is my proposal for eliminating the child-parent separation of illegal alien families:
We should immediately eliminate the defensive asylum process.
Right now people can claim defensive asylum if they are caught in this country illegally. This prevents or at least delays their deportation but it also requires detention (see my post here on the subject) and causes a huge logjam on the border.
The process would be simplified. People who are apprehended either in the U.S. or trying to cross into the U.S. would immediately be deported as an intact family back into Mexico. If you don't have proof of legal entry into the U.S. (visa, work permit, etc.), then you go to the nearest port of entry as a family unit and back across the border you go as quickly as humanly possible. You don't get to claim asylum to delay the deportation process. No authorization to be in the U.S. means out you go.
Getting caught in the U.S. illegally is a misdemeanor for the first offense. The second offense is a felony so if you risk coming back into the U.S. after being deported once you go to prison. At that point, your second offense, you are entirely at fault. You will go to prison and you will be separated from your children just like anyone else that gets arrested and jailed in the U.S.. I would make sure anyone being deported after a first offense is given very clear instructions and warning that a second offense means they go to jail and get separated from their kids.
If it were up to me I would also stipulate that anyone caught in the U.S. illegally and deported becomes ineligible for asylum in the future, so you can't get deported and turn right around and apply for asylum. If you are a legitimate asylum seeker, you present yourself immediately and before you try to enter the U.S., at a port of entry and follow the process. The asylum process shouldn't be a game for people to try to cheat the immigration system. If you break our laws and get caught, that indicates to me that you are a poor candidate for asylum. There are dozens of ports of entry on the border so a legitimate asylum seeker should have no problem applying at one of them instead of sneaking across the desert. I suspect that the primary reason people don't apply for asylum first before trying to get in is that they are not actually legitimate asylum seekers.
For the immediate alleviation of the problem, I would unite the families and then immediately expel them to Mexico to await their hearing. This way families stay intact and we don't detain so many people in general. The border is respected and the immigration laws of the United States are upheld. Second time offenders get the same treatment as a U.S. citizen that is arrested and jailed and just like the children of U.S. criminals, they suffer the consequences. That sucks for kids but it happens all the time.
This proposal has flaws but it seems to me to be far better than anything else being proposed right now.