Lost in the coverage of "Zero Tolerance" for asylum seekers in the U.S. is the fact that this has already played out on the other side of the globe in Australia since 2001. I wrote a thing for Baffler about the "Pacific Solution" and the disaster that holding a large population of semi-stateless people in legal limbo for years on end in outdoor tent camps inevitably becomes.
In an effort to make it a less depressing read I led with the tragi-comedy of Nauru, the tiny Pacific island nation that ended up so broke that it was induced to becoming an offshore detention center (prison camp, really) in exchange for boatloads of money from the Australian government. Nauru needed money and Australia had some people they wanted kept far out of sight and far away from prying eyes. Voila. Capitalism to the rescue.
Whether families are being separated or not is a sideshow to the growing population of people being detained indefinitely with unclear or nonexistent rights. Their numbers are growing exponentially under Trump and it won't be long before America is searching for its own Nauru where they can be boxed up and put out of sight.