The nation is outraged by the Trump administration’s decision to separate immigrant children from their families at the border. Ultimately, there’s only one way to permanently stop these policies.
The Trump Administration is now separating immigrant families who try to come through the U.S.-Mexico border without documentation. The parents are being sent to federal jails to face criminal prosecution. The children are detained in separate facilities for an indefinite amount of time, separated from their parents as well as their siblings, living in cages and prison-like conditions.
This officially began on April 6, 2018, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new “zero-tolerance policy” which “prohibits both attempted illegal entry and illegal entry into the United States by an alien.”
As a result of the new policy, the Department of Homeland Security has been ordered to prosecute 100% of all parents entering the US without documents (regardless of whether they entered at a port of entry or not), separate them from their children, and turn our border into a humanitarian crisis.
Trump doesn’t want to “fix” this crisis. He created it. In fact, he and his senior advisor Stephen Miller think this chaos is good politics for Republicans in November and they plan to rally their base for the midterms while also placing the blame on Democrats.
That’s why Trump told Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, “I know what you’re going through right now with families is very tough, but those are the bad laws that the Democrats gave us. We have to break up families.”
Politifact rated that statement as “false”, saying “there is no law that mandates separating children from their parents. Trump’s own administration devised a policy to that effect.”
Congressional Republicans have been happy to assist the White House in their misinformation campaign. This week, House Republicans have two immigration bills that they may vote on. They initially claimed that these bills would end the separation of families, but this is not true.
Paul Ryan’s bill is based on Stephen Miller’s wish list and would make it harder for asylum seekers to obtain freedom from persecution. It’s estimated the changes in the bill would halve the number of immigrants granted asylum — further exacerbating the children’s crisis currently unfolding on the border. The bill would also deport asylum seekers who don’t first present their claims in Mexico — effectively outsourcing our international obligations.
Ryan’s bill also targets our legal immigration system and family reunification policies, and would pull the rug out from under applicants waiting in line to enter the United States through a family-based petition.
The spin and lies from the White House attempting to blame Democrats for the family separation policy and claiming that Congress is the only one who can fix the situation is a smokescreen and part of a White House effort to ram through unacceptable policies, while distracting attention and shifting blame.
The truth is that the cruel and inhumane family separation policy championed by Trump, Sessions, and Miller can be stopped same way it was started, with a phone call from President Trump.
As Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said on CNN, “President Trump could stop this policy with a phone call … I’ll go tell him: If you don’t like families being separated, you can tell DHS, ‘Stop doing it.’”
Trump created this mess for same reason he creates all his messes — because he thinks the politics are good for him. And until he learns otherwise, the number of children held in cages at the border will only increase.
So ultimately, wee have to turn the tide on Trump’s politics of fear and division — by voting in this year’s midterm elections. The majority Americans, the “coalition of the decent” are disgusted by what they’re seeing on TV and in social media, but we have to put our beliefs into action.
We need to join together with people from all walks of life to fight for the future of our country. America is better than this.
Our voice is our vote. We must promise one another that we will show up to vote, mobilize others to do the same, and make this election a referendum — one that rejects Trump’s cruelty, cronyism, and divisiveness.