CONSEQUENCES OF PUBLIC POLICIES ON PUBLIC MANAGEMENT: THE CASE OF THE ZERO-TOLERANCE POLICY FOR CRIMINAL ILLEGAL ENTRY UPON THE OFFICE OF REFUGEE RESE
On April 2017, the Attorney General of the United States, Jefferson Sessions head of the Department of Justice –DOJ- issued a memorandum for federal prosecutors designed to adopt an immediate “Zero-Tolerance Policy for Criminal Illegal Entry” (Sessions, 2018) for any improper enter or attempt to enter the United States by any person who is not a citizen or national, clearly defining the target population. Under the Zero-tolerance policy, the DOJ would prosecute anyone detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection –CBP- while crossing or attempting to cross the border illegally. Since children or unaccompanied minors cannot be detained in federal criminal detention facilities, they are transferred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement –ORR- part of the Department of Health and Human Services –HHS- once they parents are criminally prosecuted (Chishti & Bolter, 2018). The family separation provoked a humanitarian crisis at the southern border. Nearly two thousand children were separated from their parents for six weeks from April to May 2018. Another effect of the Zero-tolerance policy is the challenge in operational capacity, faced by the ORR. The Washington Post (2018) published that the ORR lack of adequate resources, capacity, training and the orientation needed to provide appropriate child care, consequently igniting a “political firestorm” in reactions to the detention conditions. Members of the Republican party in the Senate declared a moral condemnation to how the Zero-Tolerance policy was implemented and its consequences conflicted with the American values and human decency (Burr, 2018). In conclusion, once briefly reviewing the conception of the Zero-tolerance policy, how it turned into action through the ORR, and the subsequent effects and responses that ensued, this case study research focuses on exploring, how the zero-tolerance policy relates to policy studies and the theory of public value in public management. The intended benefit of this research is to encourage policymakers and practitioners to address the complex challenges in the public sector from an ethical perspective by formulating legitimate, doable and valuable policies to prevent public policy failures.