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ICYMI: Columnist Catherine Rampell: “We’re in the midst of Trump’s War on Children”

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In a must-read syndicated column entitled, “We’re in the midst of Trump’s War on Children,” the Washington Post’s Catherine Rampell draws attention to the Trump administration’s relentless cruelty and the policies that are having harmful effects on children across the U.S.

Rampell cites the latest OIG report, detailing the trauma and emotional pain inflicted on children by Trump’s family separation policy. She highlights the dangers of Trump’s attempts to detain migrant children for longer periods of time, as well as the administration’s attempt to strip access to public benefits (including health and housing) through its new Public Charge rule.

The new column follows an op-ed penned by three pediatricians for the Boston Globe, which we highlighted yesterday and that said, “One in four children in this country comes from an immigrant family. Their health and safety must not be wielded as cudgels in pursuit of a political agenda, nor can we accept their traumatization as collateral damage.” The horrific impact of family separation is further explained in a DHS Watch post entitled, ”Every heartbeat hurts” “I can’t feel my heart”.

The Los Angeles Times editorial board sums up Trump’s immigration policies in an editorial entitled, The common thread through all the Trump administration’s immigration policies is cruelty: “Two core elements lie at the heart of nearly all of the Trump administration’s policies and actions governing immigrants: A strong desire to limit new residents from abroad, and a blind disregard for whatever cruelty might be inflicted in service of that goal.”

The cruelty doesn’t end with migrant children, in the administration’s latest push for an unwanted border wall the Pentagon has stripped $3.6 billion in military funding to the construction of the wall. The diversion of these funds will stop hundreds of projects, including the construction of schools for children of U.S. service members in Kentucky, Germany and Japan. As Catherine Rampell puts it, “welcome to the War on Children.”

Rampell’s column is excerpted below and can be read in full here.

You’ve heard of the Wars on Drugs, Terror, Poverty, even Women. Well, welcome to the War on Children.

It’s being waged by the Trump administration and other right-wing public officials, regardless of any claimed “family values.”

For evidence, look no further than the report released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services’s own inspector general. It details the trauma suffered by immigrant children separated from their parents under the Trump administration’s evil “zero tolerance” policy.

Thousands of children were placed in overcrowded centers ill-equipped to provide care for them physically or psychologically. Visits to 45 centers around the country resulted in accounts of children who cried inconsolably; who were drugged; who were promised family reunifications that never came; whose severe emotional distress manifested in phantom chest pains, with complaints that “every heartbeat hurts”; who thought their parents had abandoned them or had been murdered.

Such state-sanctioned child abuse was designed to serve as a “deterrent” for asylum-seeking families, as then-Chief of Staff John F. Kelly and other administration officials made clear.

…Despite this and other abundant evidence that government facilities are not able to care for children for extended periods, last month, the administration also announced a new policy that would allow it to keep children (along with their families) in jail-like conditions for longer periods of time.

…In August, it finalized a rule that would make it more difficult for immigrants to receive green cards if they have used certain safety-net services they’re legally entitled to — or if government officials suspect they might ever use such services. Confusion and fear about the policy and whom it affects abound. This has already created a “chilling effect” for usage of social services, with immigrant parents disenrolling even their U.S.-citizen children just to be safe.

…And lest you think only immigrant or brown children are being targeted in this war: U.S. servicemembers’ children, of all sorts of backgrounds, are being hurt, too.

The Trump administration is siphoning billions from various defense projects to fund border wall construction, despite promises that Mexico would pay for it. This might sound unlikely to affect kids, but somehow the Trump administration found a way. Among the projects losing funds are schools for the children of U.S. servicemembers based in Kentucky, Germany and Japan, and a child-care center at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.