America's Voice En Español »
Two new commentaries capture why the Trump Administration’s approach to border and asylum policy is defined by callousness and inhumanity and not by the actual facts or needs of the border region.
An editorial from leading Spanish language daily newspaper La Opinión cites the real facts at the border and, recapping the disturbing record of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), says that the agency “represents the fraud and excesses of his [Trump] administration’s immigration policy,” and concludes that “Border Patrol is the one that is out of control, not the border.”
And writing at Vox, Matt Yglesias examines the recent comments from White House Chief of Staff John Kelly attempting to justify the Trump Administration’s forced separations of parents from children and puts the comments into the larger context of this administration’s disturbing pattern of cruelty.
We excerpt both pieces below:
La Opinión editorial, “Border Patrol Out of Control” (translation from Spanish by America’s Voice:
For the Trump administration:
It is necessary to maintain an image of extreme danger (at the border) to request an increase of 5,000 agents so that by 2020 there will be more than 26,300 agents. The problem is that right now there is already a vacancy of 1,900 agents. A large number of Border Patrol applicants fail the lie detector test to the point that Congress intends to exempt some of the test. This means returning to a past of agents with a history of common crimes and civil rights violations.
La Opinión cites a report by the Cato Institute recommending a freeze in the hiring of Border Patrol agents instead of increasing them, as the White House wants:
The study showed that the Border Patrol has the highest rate of personnel dismissal for bad behavior or low performance, in comparison to the rest of the police agencies and that lack of supervision is the culprit. It is not by chance that this agency has the least amount of personnel for internal investigations.
The Border Patrol is the one that is out of control, not the border.
Matt Yglesias at Vox: “Cruelty is the Defining Characteristic of Donald Trump’s Politics and Policy”:
“The children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever,” White House chief of staff John Kelly told NPR in response to a question about whether it’s “cruel and heartless to take a mother away from her children.”
I don’t need to tell Kelly, who has experienced every parent’s nightmare of outliving their child, that this is stupid and wrong. It is, obviously, cruel to separate a mother from her children and hand them over to strangers. It would be cruel even if it weren’t the case that more than 1,000 migrant children placed by the government last year went missing.
The reason we know that it’s cruel — and the reason that we know Kelly knows that it’s cruel — is that the cruelty is the point. The question was about a new policy inside the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security that separates parents who arrive at the US-Mexico border with their children and no visa from their kids.
These families are coming to the United States because they fear for their lives in Central America, and Kelly would like them to stop coming. To get them to stop, he wants to make them fear the consequences of coming. The American government cannot, obviously, threaten to kill asylum-seekers the way the gangs they are fleeing can. So they devised a kind of psychological torture that they hope will keep families away.
The NPR interviewer was wrong to suggest the policy is “heartless,” which implies indifference to the human suffering involved. The Trump administration’s policy toward Puerto Rico is heartless. The separation policy is anything but indifferent. It’s cruel.
…This impulse toward cruelty appears to come to the president in a quite natural, sincere, and unstudied way.
…Very few of us are as rich or powerful as Trump, his Cabinet, his circle of friends and family, or his major campaign contributors. All of us will lose out from an ethic that licenses the strong to oppress the weak. Foreign-born children are uniquely disempowered in the political system, so they bear the brunt for now. But almost all of us will need help or protection at some point.
And the answer we get from the current regime is clear: Whatever.