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The Trump administration’s cruel announcement to target kids and vulnerable families through indefinite detention has generated a volume of outrage from leading voices.
According to Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communications for America’s Voice, “The cruelty is and always has been the point when it comes to Trump’s immigration policies. The indefinite detention policy for children is disgraceful, purposeful and designed to exact pain on the most vulnerable. They are perpetuating a human rights crisis. None of this is normal and none of this should be tolerated.”
Below are leading voices and excerpts putting the latest Trump horrors in context:
Marshall Fitz in an op-ed in the Washington Post: “The Trump administration’s new rule could prove devastating for migrant children at the border”
Under the new rule, DHS — the same agency that has forcibly separated thousands of kids from their parents and continues to do so, repeatedly defended its inhumane treatment of children in federal court and recently testified that soap is not a requirement for sanitary conditions — would be granted exclusive authority to determine safe and sanitary conditions for migrant children in their custody. Flores would cease to serve as a bulwark against the abuse and indefinite detention of vulnerable children.
Trump’s DHS has demonstrated no capacity for — or interest in — providing humane treatment to children: just this month, a federal court had to once again reaffirm — over objections by the Trump administration — that Flores requires children to have access to adequate “food, water, bedding, toothbrushes, and soap.”
Until Congress demonstrates the ability to constrain this administration’s cruel policies toward migrant families, the courts remain the only institutional check against a human catastrophe. While America waits for Congress to represent our values, the Flores settlement agreement’s role in protecting children is more indispensable than ever.
New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow: “A Lust for Punishment”
There seems to be no limit to the cruelty Donald Trump and his administration are willing to exhibit and exact when it comes to immigrants and asylum seekers from Latin America.
..But I think that there is also another facet worth exploring: the degree to which Trump’s own punitive spirit aligns with and gives voice and muscle to American conservatives’ long simmering punitive lust. And this insatiable desire to inflict pain has particular targets: women (specifically feminists), racial minorities, people who are L.G.B.T.Q. and religious minorities in this country. In short, the punishments are directed at anyone who isn’t part of, or supportive of, the white supremacist patriarchy.
…So Trump’s draconian treatment of people at the border makes perfect sense when viewed through this lens. These immigrants are being punished for coming to this country. People are being punished for seeking asylum. Parents are being punished for bringing their children.
And as Trump increases the pain, a great roar goes up from the Colosseum of Conservatism.
The Los Angeles Times’ editorial board: “Trump’s new plan to incarcerate migrant families isn’t just cruel, it’s unjustifiable”
Let’s be clear from the outset: It is harmful to children to incarcerate them with or without their parents and siblings . In fact, a 2016 report by the Department of Homeland Security’s Advisory Committee on Family Residential Centers concluded that “detention is generally neither appropriate nor necessary for families — and that detention or the separation of families for purposes of immigration enforcement or management … is never in the best interest of children.” The panel, which included health and legal experts, said families should be detained only if there is a legitimate fear of flight or public safety, and even then for as short a period as possible . “Every effort should be made to place families in community-based case-management programs that offer medical, mental health, legal, social, and other services and supports, so that families may live together within a community.”
…No, we shouldn’t have open borders. No, we shouldn’t grant asylum to every person who asks for it. But we also shouldn’t imprison them while we sort out the eligible from the ineligible. The solution to an immigration court system so overwhelmed that it takes months or years to process cases isn’t to deprive people of their liberty, but to expand the system itself to handle the job it has been given.
The Chicago Sun-Times’ editorial board: “Caging kids indefinitely is indefensible plan to stop border crossings”
Trump wants us to believe his administration can be trusted with children; this is the man responsible for separating children, including babies, from their parents at the border last year.
He puts his contempt for refugees and undocumented immigrants in plain view. He allows his administration to operate overcrowded, grimy, deplorable jails for migrants. But, hey, he can be trusted.
“Promulgating this rule and seeking termination of the FSA are important steps towards an immigration system that is humane and operates consistently with the intent of Congress,” DHS said in its statement.
It would be laughable if it weren’t so reprehensible.
Mother Jones’ Noah Lanard: “Trump’s New Indefinite Family Detention Plan Completes a Cruel Agenda”
The prospect of being stopped by Mexican officials; the partial asylum ban; Remain in Mexico; and the potential for being sent to Guatemala will all dissuade many families from attempting the journey north. The Trump administration hopes as few people as possible make it through that gauntlet and into the United States. But if they do, the Trump administration wants to make sure people spend that time in detention. That is what Wednesday’s family detention rule aims to achieve. It is the last link in a long chain.