Washington Post syndicated columnist Eugene Robinson has authored a scathing condemnation of the Trump administration. He opens with this:
The Trump administration’s kidnapping — that’s the proper word — of the children of would-be migrants should be seen as an ongoing criminal conspiracy. Somebody ought to go to jail.
Under a federal court order, all 103 children under the age of 5 who were taken from their families at the border were supposed to be returned by Tuesday. The government missed that deadline, and I wish U.S. District Judge Dana M. Sabraw, who issued the order, had held somebody in contempt. One candidate would be Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who on Tuesday had the gall to describe the administration’s treatment of immigrant children as “one of the great acts of American generosity and charity.”
Given that the intention from the beginning was clearly to frighten and intimidate would-be migrants from Central America, why should anyone believe that the administration is acting or speaking in good faith now? Why should we accept at face value that exactly 103 children under 5 were seized? How can we be sure there is only one case in which officials can’t find or identify the parents? Given that it has taken weeks to return just 57 children, what is the likelihood the government kept adequate records?
This is an administration, after all, that conducts immigration court proceedings, or travesties, in which children too young to know their ABCs are expected to represent themselves without the benefit of legal counsel. Imagine your 3-year-old child or grandchild in that situation. Now tell me how adopting child abuse as a policy is supposed to Make America Great Again.
And what about the children older than 5 who were taken from their families? Sabraw ordered that they be returned to their parents by July 26, but don’t hold your breath. We don’t even know how many there are, because the government doesn’t seem to know. Officials first gave the number as about 2,300, but the latest estimate is nearly 3,000. Why can’t they settle on a precise figure? What reason could there be for such vagueness, other than ignorance?
Kidnapping children. Failing even to account for them. Sending families home to be killed. Give us your huddled masses, this administration seems to say, and let us kick them in their little faces.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
Ripping families apart without a plan to reunite them and then, when reuniting only a fraction of them while under court order, taking credit for ‘generosity and charity?’ Puleeze. Azar, along with Trump, Miller, Sessions, and Nielsen, will go down in history as the culprits of the cruel separation of families. They should be in the dock answering questions before Congress, but the Republicans in charge evidently are more interested in attacking the FBI for investigating a Russian attack on our democracy than in demanding accountability for this morally reprehensible scandal. May the courts, the pressure from the public and a change in Congress this November compel changes in policy so that families seeking safety are kept together, given the chance to have their day in court, and given the freedom to do so without being separated or jailed.