For the past month, mainstream media, local news, and social media have been full of nothing but talk about the conditions of detention centers currently located along the border. With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez now dubbing these detention centers as “concentration camps,” a newfound fervor has taken over the left. 

Liberals are dubbing the Trump administration as “this generation’s Nazis” and are deeming racism as the reason for these conditions. While I’m sure the voters in the Democratic primary will appreciate the virtue signaling of these Democrats, this rhetoric is completely missing the actual issues troubling our border. 

The horrible conditions of Detention Centers on the Southern border have nothing to do with racism and everything to do with overcrowding, under-funding, and an immigration system that wasn’t built to handle these kinds of numbers. It isn’t because of Trump, it isn’t because our government is the next Nazi Germany, it isn’t because of anything other than the fact that too many undocumented immigrants are coming over each month. 

If you think the conditions are a result of racism, you’d have to say the same of President Obama that you do of President Trump. As early as 2014, during President Obama’s second term, there were local articles and news segments dedicated to the dismal conditions that children in particular were facing in detention centers. Texas Representative Henry Cuellar even provided the Houston Chronicle with pictures of these conditions in 2014 that you can find here.  Somehow, the Democrats were able to ignore these what they now call “concentration camps” at the time. Children were laying were on top of each other, sleeping on the concrete ground with no pillows and only one blanket, and there weren’t enough hygiene products to go around. The conditions were no different than the ones making major headlines today. 

What happened under President Obama and is now happening under President Trump is no single individual’s fault. The many institutions that provide guidance, funding, and infrastructure to our immigration officials were never prepared for the number of undocumented immigrants that have been flooding into the US in the past five years. 

In 2014, when the pictures under President Obama were taken, there had been over 33,000 unaccompanied minors apprehended in the first eight months of the year alone. The number of total apprehensions for those first eight months was larger than the total for the entirety of the previous year. 

The Trump administration is facing a similar problem of large, record-breaking numbers of people crossing the border. According to the Texas Tribune, in May over 144,000 undocumented immigrants were apprehended. That is a 13 year record. 

Where will these people go? Where will they be kept? And where will the money to feed, clothe, and house them come from? 

In response to the overcrowding and unmanageable conditions, hundreds of these apprehended undocumented immigrants have been released into the general community. These individuals being released are given a court date they are expected to attend, though it is unlikely they ever will. These practices endanger the border communities like my own, and this “catch and release” practice is one of the incentives for people to come over illegally, which only furthers the problem of overcrowding. 

At the end of the day, saying Trump is the next Hitler isn’t going to fix these centers, and it isn’t going to provide better conditions for the next tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants that will be coming over throughout the rest of the year or in the years to come.  The centers not only need more funding and more workers, there needs to be a push to stop incentivizing illegal immigration into the U.S. The best way to stop these bad conditions due to overcrowding is to make sure they aren’t getting overcrowded in the first place. 

If the country continues to point fingers at the wrong people and wrong institutions, these conditions will only worsen. For us to fix the problem, we must first face what the genuine problem is. 

As Americans we are known not just for our generosity and  empathy, but for our rule of law as well. It’s time we finally find the balance between the two that ensures that situations like those on the border are no longer repeated. That’s when we can ensure that the dangerous practice for all parties of illegal immigration is no longer incentivized and that our detention centers can have conditions that are no longer worthy of headlines. 

Stormi R
CONTRIBUTOR