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Houston Chronicle Editorial: “Trump Officials Who Separated Migrant Families Must Face Consequences for Knowingly Hurting Kids”

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An appropriately impassioned new editorial from the Houston Chronicle calls for accountability and consequences for the architects, enablers, and implementers responsible for the ongoing family separation crisis.

Below, find key excerpts from the Houston Chronicle editorial, “Lock them up? Trump officials who separated migrant families must face consequences for knowingly hurting kids”:

One chilling truth about the Trump administration’s separation of migrant families turns an unfortunate policy blunder into an unconscionable atrocity. They knew. Officials were warned, far in advance, about the harm that tearing children from their parents’ arms could cause. They did it anyway.

Average Americans following the aftermath of Trump’s zero-tolerance policy may have been disturbed by articles about kids suffering horrific mental health issues inflicted upon little kids who probably thought they were on some grand journey to a better life. They may have been troubled by a recording circulating online of a little girl crying for Mommy and Daddy.

But if you thought it was all an accident, a bunch of unforeseen consequences, you’d be wrong.

The shocking reality was laid out clearly on Tuesday before a Senate Judiciary Committee by Commander Jonathan White, the official overseeing efforts to reunite more than 2,500 migrant children with their parents.

“During the deliberative process over the previous year, we raised a number of concerns in the [Office of Refugee Resettlement] program about any policy which would result in family separation,” White said, referring to his time at the ORR, which he left on March 15.

“You told the administration that kids would suffer as a result, that pain would be inflicted, correct?” asked Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.

“Separation of children from their parents entails significant risk of harm to children,” White responded.

Since the Trump administration first implemented its family separation policy, the nation has been forced to watch while, drip by drip, evidence of its disastrous effects trickles out of detention centers, courthouses and newsrooms.

…Members of Congress are calling for someone, anyone, in the White House to stand up and take responsibility…

…for millions of Americans who have endured the Trump presidency with foreboding worry, waiting to see where the president’s inexperience, his careless boasting, his inexplicable lack of shame would lead, now we know — to this moment. To a human rights violation that deserves global attention and condemnation — the sort America used to have the moral high ground to give.

The damage cannot be undone. Children can’t unlearn the things they’ve been through. All we can do is do right by families going forward, and try to prevent this kind of harm from ever being done again in our names.

We must reunite hundreds of children still split from their parents. We must pass laws that fund alternatives to detention and adds immigration judges. We must work with Central American nations to end violence that drives families to our borders in the first place.

We must demand that those responsible are held accountable — whether at the ballot box or the jury box. Americans must be clear: Our concern for national security does not justify the premeditated abuse of children.

The next time you read about an infant being ripped from its mother’s breast, remember: They knew. And now we know. And we know this, too: Election Day is November 6.