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Trump is “Gratuitously Embracing Cruelty”

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The Trump Administration’s policy of seizing children, including toddlers and infants, and ripping them from the arms of their parents as part of a new “zero tolerance” strategy at the border, is being condemned by thought leaders and ordinary citizens with growing ferocity.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof pens a piece entitled, Trump Immigration Policy Veers From Abhorrent to Evil. After capturing the voices of mothers who have had their children taken from them, he concludes:

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly hails family separation as a ‘tough deterrent’ and shrugs that ‘the children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever.’

So what’s next, Mr. President? Minefields at the border would be an even more effective deterrent. Or East German-style marksmen in watch towers to shoot those who cross?

We as a nation should protect our borders. We must even more assiduously protect our soul.

Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell pens a piece entitled, Republicans’ inhumanity at the border reveals their grand scam. She writes:

For decades, Republicans have championed traditional family values and having parents, rather than the state, take responsibility for their children.

This Republican administration’s inhumane treatment of helpless children — who are ripped from their mothers’ arms, detained in human warehouses and drop-kicked into “foster care or whatever” — reveals such rhetoric to have been a scam.The Trump administration’s goal is to inflict pain upon these families. Cruelty is not an unfortunate, unintended consequence of White House immigration policy; it is the objective.

After all, if forced separations are sufficiently agonizing, fewer families will try to come here, no matter how dangerous their home countries are. Administration members have argued as much.

Greg Sargent of the Plumline in WaPo, writes a piece entitled Trump and Roseanne are putting on the same show. But Trump’s is hurting lots of people:

Last night, Trump embarked on an extended diatribe about MS-13 members — ‘they’re not human beings’ — and then cued the crowd into roaring the word ‘animals.’ Trump can insist that this was only about gang members, but the bottom line is that this was a hate rally, and it shows again that Trump views the carrying out of that broader agenda as key to his visceral connection to these crowds, or to large swaths of his base.

What does this look like in reality? It has led to a suspension of relatively sane enforcement priorities, unshackling Immigration and Customs Enforcement to carry out a much crueler deportation regime. It has led to a new policy of prosecuting all people who cross the border illegally, including asylum seekers, which means more broken-up families. This is explicitly justified as a deterrent to such border crossings. Its inhumane cruelty is the whole point — it is intended to dissuade people from seeking refuge here.

Jennifer Rubin of WaPo’s Right Turn, weigh in with moral outrage and a political warning, in a post entitled Will Trump finally pay a price for his abject cruelty?

If the administration and its apologists treat the new child-separation policy as just another immigration issue in which they can look tough to their base, they may be surprised. It’s not good enough to mumble something about the rule of law, and blame parents fleeing oppressive conditions.  Every parent in American, every decent American, will be sickened by the sight of young children being taken from the parents. If Republicans have a problem with women voters now, wait until scenes of tearful family separations make their way into midterm ads.

Jonathan Blitzer of the New Yorker questioned an attendee at a recent Department of Homeland Security meeting as to how the administration became comfortable with the inhumane policy, one it had previous shied away from:

What you’re seeing now is the President’s frustration with the fact that the [border crossing] numbers are back up..The only tools the Administration has now, in the absence of legislation, is to make life miserable for people.

We give the final word to a federal judge on the front line in Brownsville, Texas. The Intercept’s Donna Martin:

In Brownsville, Judge Morgan also started alluding to biblical matters. It was Thursday, the fourth day of “zero tolerance” in his court, and defendants were telling their stories. The judge had just asked Holly D’Andrea, the assistant U.S. attorney handling illegal entry prosecutions that day, if it were true that families were being reunited in detention. D’Andrea sounded uncertain, but answered that she thought it was true.

“Tell you what,” the judge said slowly, with a hard edge in his voice, “if it’s not, then there are a lot of folks that have some answering to do. Because what you’ve done, in effect, by separating these children is you’re putting them in some place without their parents. If you can imagine there’s a hell, that’s probably what it looks like.”