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The Moral Stain of Family Separation May Be With Us Forever

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Family separations, one of the darkest chapters of Trump’s or any other presidency, is back in the headlines. NBC reported that at least 545 children remain separated from parents who cannot be located, and Kristen Welker brought it up in the presidential debate. We chronicle just some of the latest reactions to this heartbreaking news below:

(Read our post-debate take here on how Trump lied, blame-shifted, took no responsibility, and said the separated children are “well taken care of,” while Joe Biden denounced Trump’s the policy as “criminal,” and reiterated his broader commitments on immigration)

  • MSNBC discussion: “Child separations at border now key voter issue”: A panel discussion on MSNBC on Saturday featuring guest host María Teresa Kumar, NBC reporter Julia Ainsley, Dreamer and activist Astrid Silva, and NILC Executive Director Marilena Hincapié discussing the horrors of family separation and how the issue and its horrors have broken through (watch an excerpt of the discussion here). 
  • Austin American-Statesman editorial: “These 545 kids and our nation need to heal”: “This destruction of families was done in our name, by our government. It was done without a plan. It was done with callous disregard for the children whose pain became the Trump administration’s message to everyone south of the border: Don’t come to America … The damage from Trump’s family separation folly is lasting and raw. The damage to our standing as a decent nation is real. The healing won’t begin until America has new leadership.” 
  • New York Daily News editorial: “Childhoods stolen: America and the world now have a clearer sense of the damage done by President Trump’s family separation policy”: “America already had one haunting image in its mind, courtesy of Donald Trump’s purposely cruel immigration policies: More than 5,000 children, some as young as four months old, torn from their parents at the border. Now the nation must make room for another: Five hundred and forty-five children who, three years after our government’s heartless experiment with human lives, have yet to be reunited with their mothers and fathers.” 
  • Dallas Morning News editorial: “The policy of separating families was a tragic mistake:” “Words cannot adequately express how excruciating and shameful the separation policy had been. Our toxic immigration politics continue to erode the decency, common sense and respect needed to forthrightly deal with those who seek this nation for a better life.” 
  • Baltimore Sun op-ed: “Family separation of migrant children allowed U.S. government to ‘traffic in kidnapping”:  Krish Vignarajah, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), writes: “Because we have no other choice but to demand our government reunite these families once and for all, and grant them legal status so that they might find peace and protection. Beyond that immediate priority, we must hold accountable each and every official who forsook basic decency, core American values, and humanitarian law to allow our government to traffic in kidnapping. In the Land of the Free, families belong together.” 
  • HBO’s John Oliver with an essential and detailed explainer on how family separation is just one of a series of cruel and dehumanizing asylum policies: In a must-watch long segment, comedian John Oliver explains with clarity and outrage how the Trump administration has fundamentally turned America’s back on vulnerable people seeking asylum (watch the 21-minute long segment here).

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice: 

The Trump administration — with our tax dollars and in our name — ripped kids from the arms of their parents, knowing full well that no tracking system was in place, and  knowing full well that incalculable trauma would result. 

The moral stain of family separation may be with us forever. 

As we enter the last week of the election, Americans need to know that the best way to reunite families and hold accountable those responsible is to vote out Trump and his GOP enablers. The power is ours. Let’s use it.