Esper asked his chief of staff and General Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to make sure Miller had not already set a plan in motion. “Milley comes back days later and the door opens up and he’s waving a document that’s in hand. And he says something like, ‘secretary, you’re not gonna believe this.’ And that’s when he explains to me that, yes, they were working. That we had developed a plan, initial concept of how this might happen. And I was just flabbergasted that, not only was the idea proposed, but that people—people in my department were working on it.”

“I gave General Milley specific instruction to tell NORTHCOM, Northern Command, to stop working on it, to cease and desist. And that if anybody had any questions, you tell them they should call me direct. I never got a phone call,” said Esper. “It was dead and it died, as it should.”

There is no need to place troops on the U.S. border. The United States could reduce the number of people who enter the country unlawfully by admitting more temporary workers. National Foundation for American Policy research found admitting more Mexican farmworkers via the Bracero program reduced illegal entry (apprehensions) at the border by 95% between 1953 and 1959. Such a reduction in illegal immigration would be accomplished without cost to taxpayers and would not weaken or interfere with other national defense priorities.

Efforts To Punish Parents And Children At The Border: “The U.S. government separated more than 3,000 children from their parents along the Mexican border in May and June 2018, the peak of President Donald Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy to prosecute adults for the misdemeanor offense of crossing the border illegally,” according to Maria Sacchetti of the Washington Post. “DHS officials say more than 5,500 children were separated in all.”

“On May 10, 2018, Matthew Albence, then a high-rankingofficial at ICE, wrote in a memo to other officials at the agency that he was worried that parents would be returned to their children in Border Patrol stations too quickly after going to criminal court,” writes Sacchetti, on June 8, 2022, citing emails that became available to attorneys for migrants who were separated from their children by the policy. “Albence said CBP [Customs and Border Protection] should work with ICE to prevent this from happening,’ such as by taking the children themselves to ORR (Office of Refugee Resettlement] ‘at an accelerated pace’ or bringing the adults directly to ICE from criminal court, instead of returning them to their children.”

The Trump administration ended its family-separation at the border in June 2018 after a public outcry that tearing children away from their parents was cruel. The revelations from previously undisclosed emails show Trump officials thought the policy was not cruel enough.

These three reports remind us that the Trump administration’s immigration policies were often cruel and unusual. The revelations indicate if the same individuals get a second chance, the policies revealed since Donald Trump left office may return along with new and likely harsher immigration policies.