The Trump administration has a new strategy to discourage illegal immigrants from crossing the border.

The new U.S. policy is to separate parents from their children and prosecute the parents. In just a two-week period last month, Homeland Security says more than 650 children were separated from their parents. 

Immigration has become a litmus test on which America you live in. 

It's interesting what you learn when riding with strangers. Recently, I was getting a Lyft to the airport in Phoenix when the driver shared the experience she had with the fare just before me. She told me she had picked a 25-year-old man in the suburbs and was giving him a ride downtown. She said when she picked him up, the man's mother and sister were weeping and clutching him as if they might never see him again. 

The driver suspected this was no ordinary ride. 

Midway downtown, she worked up the courage to ask what was going on, to which the man volunteered, he was being deported. He had a job and was raising two children. But, he was brought to this country illegally at the age of 3. 

And though his children could stay, he was being deported to Mexico, where he had relatives he didn't really know. 

This was the story the driver told me. I don't know if all of it-- or any of it-- was true.

The story was easier to believe, considering our current president's promise to rid the country of the "bad hombres" that have flooded across the border. 

But, here's the thing. In the first year of the Trump presidency, Immigration and Customs officials arrested more than 100,000 illegal immigrants with criminal convictions. 

But, they also seized more than 45,000 illegal immigrants without records-- which makes you wonder if the administration is increasing safety or just boosting numbers. 

Maybe how we feel about illegal immigrants depends largely on where we live. 

It's hard to find out how many illegals are deported from Alaska, but the population here has to pale in comparison to the Lower 48. 

It's a conversation we don't often engage in, considering our neighbors the south are Canadian. 

The inescapable irony of Arizona is that their economy is completely dependent on undocumented workers. If ICE were only targeting the "bad hombres," I might be more sympathetic to the America First-ers. But, that doesn't appear to be the case, judging from the numbers and the published examples since the crackdown. 

Which is why so many undocumented workers, many of whom pay taxes and obey our laws, now live in almost constant fear. And maybe that's okay with you. 

I don't know if the young man in Arizona is a "bad hombre" or not, but, I'm not convinced that this is how we make America great again. 

John's opinions are his own and are not necessarily those of Denali Media or its employees.

Copyright 2018 KTVA. All rights reserved.

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