Two days before a court-ordered deadline, it is increasingly obvious that the Trump administration will not reunite all the children they took from their parents. The cruelty and cynicism of this administration seems to know no bounds. Trump and his team mobilized every resource, agent and contractor they could to separate some 3,000 children from parents; now they are dragging their feet, moving the goalposts, missing deadlines and taking it upon themselves to decide which families should be “eligible” for reunification.
The Wall Street Journal’s Alicia Caldwell reports, “of the 1,606 children who are eligible to rejoin their parents, 848 specifically have been cleared by the government for reunification. Meanwhile, 908 children separated from their families at the border are “either not eligible, or not yet known to be eligible, for reunification,” according to the Trump administration. Reuters reports on a new court filing that reveals that 463 parents whose children were taken from them by this administration have been deported from the U.S. while their children remain behind in this country.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
Every child, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, or where they live, deserves to be with their parents and loved ones, not seized, separated and held in secretive detention centers. Still, the Trump administration — starting with Trump, Stephen Miller, Jeff Sessions, and Kirstjen Nielsen — decided that it was acceptable to put these families’ futures at risk. Now, under court order to reunite kids taken from their families, the same people responsible for this morally reprehensible scandal are assuming that it’s up to them to decide which kids are ‘eligible’ for reunification and which are not.
Since when do those who kidnap children get to determine what’s in the best interests of their victims?
The nation turns its lonely eyes to Judge Sabraw, the presiding judge in the litigation. We are counting on him to do what this administration seems unwilling to do — reunite all the kids with the families they came with. If parents were coerced into being deported, they should be brought back to the U.S. and admitted on humanitarian parole. If parents are detained, they should be released with their children into case management programs so they can prepare for their day in court. This is a refugee flow and should be treated as such.
Finally, let’s call it as we see it, and call out the rank cynicism on display. Trump and the GOP are playing politics with this and other immigration issues. First, they they seem to believe the way to juice their base is to make overt and covert appeals to racism and xenophobia. Second, they want to divide and distract from the fact that their crowning legislative achievement — huge tax cuts for the super-wealthy and corporations — has rigged the rules in favor of donors, reduced wages for the rest of us, and threatened the health, education and retirement programs that we count on to provide for our families. Third, they want to discredit government by generating fear based on race, ethnicity and place of origin. The bottom line: they are doing this purposefully, and it affects all of us.
Come November, the American people will have their chance to register their views on these cruel and inhumane policies and this cynical Trump/GOP political strategy.