I sat here this week, watching what is happening on the southern border of the United States of America in a state of disbelief, and I asked myself is this it? Is this finally the moment that people in that country say enough?
Is that image of the little girl crying while her mother is frisked by ICE agents before taking her away — and the outraged reaction to it — finally going to push the political class into action?
Is the notion of putting babies in “tender care” cages finally going to prod someone into doing something?
It appeared on Wednesday that humanity finally prevailed, as Donald Trump signed an executive order to end the separation of children from their families. Let’s not pretend he ended this because he has any empathy for the families he tore apart. He ended it because, after weeks of lies, he could not get people to understand that he was just making America great again, keep it from being “infested” with immigrants. Trump is a TV guy, a ratings guy. His ratings were falling and he said himself, the optics were terrible. He tried to wait it out, hoping it, like all the other scandals he creates on a weekly basis, would sink out of the 24 hour news cycle. But it didn’t.
The world was appalled in the past week. Most Americans were appalled. But not all of them. Here’s a roundup of some of the defences of this indefensible policy.
Laura Ingraham, right wing commentator – The facilities housing the children are “essentially summer camps”. Wonder what kind of summer camp she went to? Whatever kind, it sure made her mean.
Tucker Carlson – Fox News commentator – “The ruling class cares far more about foreigners than about their own people.” Not sure who he considers the ruling class because the class ruling the United States right now, the Republicans, have certainly indicated that they don’t have too many concerns about the well-being of “foreigners” or their children. He also said, “Their goal is to change your country forever.” Whatever could he mean?
Anne Coulter – right wing pundit. The children are child crisis actors. Her exact quote, “These child actors weeping and crying on all the other networks 24/7 right now, do not fall for it, Mr President.” That is so reprehensible, so disgusting, that I have nothing to say.
US Border Patrol – Don’t call them cages because it makes the Border Patrol look bad. Oh I’m sorry that locking children up in cages… er mesh child protection units, makes you look bad, Border Patrol. That’s really a shame. Also, although the word ‘cages’ certainly doesn’t help you look good, images of your agents ripping crying children from their parents’ arms also has something to do with the beating your reputation may be taking.
Sec. of Homeland Security Kristjen Nielsen – “These minors are very well taken care of,” she says. “Don’t believe the press.” Cruella Deville step aside, there’s a new boss in town.
Former Trump employee and right wing pundit Corey Lewandowski, on hearing about a 10-year old with Down Syndrome being taken from her mother, “Womp! Womp!” Remember how offended they were when Hilary Clinton called them “deplorables”?
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions – “Bible. Bible. Bible.” Separation of church and state is not a thing anymore, I guess.
Fox News radio host Todd Starnes – they are not gassing the children. Oh well, if they’re not gassing them, then everything is a-okay.
Donald Trump – “It’s the Democrats fault”.
Because the Democrats, who control neither the White House, nor the Senate, nor Congress, could change Trump administration policy. Of course, what Trump is saying is that if the Democrats would only buy into repressive immigration legislation, that would among other horrible things, fund his stupid border wall, he would stop holding toddlers hostage. Democrats fault.
And Trump doubled down on his lying. And his minions doubled down on offering every explanation they could come up with to explain why it wasn’t wrong that they were ripping babies from their parents’ arms.
But he finally caved, signing an executive order to end a policy that he himself wanted his Attorney General to enforce. Of course he continued to blame everyone but himself. And make no mistake, the US will continue to arrest and pen up those seeking asylum, they just won’t separate the families anymore, which means kids will still be in jail, in contravention of U.S. law, which means the whole mess will end up being challenged in court.
But here’s the immediate problem, how are the thousands of children already taken from their parents going to be reunited with them? They have been sucked into the bureaucracy and put in cages all over the country. Was the proper paperwork that would link them back to their parents done? Does the government know where their parents are? Or what cage they are locked in?