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What to Do About Trump’s Morally Bankrupt Family Separation Policy? Reunite All the Families and Hold Accountable All Those Responsible

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Every new revelation about Trump’s family separation policy confirms why it is one of the worst human rights atrocities committed by our government in modern American history. 

It cries out for action on two fronts: 1) a government-led effort to do everything possible to reunite and support the families that were torn apart by state-sanctioned kidnapping; and 2) a serious effort to hold accountable those responsible for these moral crimes. 

Last night, NBC News reported that the parents of 545 children separated by the Trump administration from their families are unable to be located by lawyers and advocates, after most of the parents were summarily deported to Central America without their children. 

These 545 separated children were part of a secretive 2017 family separation pilot program. This means that before scaling up the program to separate more than 5,000 kids from their parents, it was evident to White House, DHS, DOJ and HHS authorities that there was no tracking system in place. 

The NBC report joins other recent revelations on family separation, such as a Department of Justice Inspector General report that implicates the highest officials in the department in overcoming objections and resistance from staff on the ground to implement this barbaric project. 

The rogue’s list of those responsible is long, but the intellectual authors and gung ho implementers include Stephen Miller and John Kelly in the White House, Kirstjen Nielsen and Chad Wolf of DHS, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein of the DOJ, and, of course, the man who set the moral tone for his administration, President Donald Trump.

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

The purposeful kidnapping and separation of little kids from their parents to deter refugees from seeking safety in our nation is one of the worst human rights atrocities in American history. 

This policy and these actions were carried out by thousands of taxpayer-funded officials and agents. These people are responsible for an indelible stain on America’s moral fabric. We must expose all of them and all of what they did to make sure that these people pay a price and that this kind of atrocity never happens again. And we must find the kids and parents, put them back together, and offer support commensurate with the crimes committed and the damage done. 

These officials looked at Central American families and believed that ripping kids from their parents was sound policy. These officials looked at these kids and concluded it was okay to make no provisions to track them so one day they could be reunited. These officials carried out this policy under cover of lies, obfuscation and deceit, believing that their moral crimes could be spun and minimized in the media. But the outrage of the American people is proving to be much stronger than the amorality of Trump, Miller and their enablers. 

Adam Serwer wrote these poignant words in The Atlantic in 2018: ‘To harden oneself against the cries of children is no simple task. It requires a coldness to suffering that will not be easily thawed. The scars it inflicts on American civic culture will not heal quickly, and they will never completely fade.’