“We want to solve family separation. I don’t want children taken away from parents, and when you prosecute the parents for coming in illegally — which should happen — you have to take the children away,” Donald Trump said yesterday in a rambling, ranty speech to small business owners.
Trump doesn’t have to take the children away. Lookit: Barack Obama was not great on immigration. To be honest, he was kind of a dick about it. But Obama didn’t separate families, and he only prosecuted incoming immigrants under a limited set of circumstances: When sex trafficking or drugs were involved, or in some instances in which it was a single man. But he didn’t separate families, and he certainly didn’t do so as a deterrent, and that’s the only reason that Trump and Sessions and Stephen Miller have implemented this inhumane policy: To deter.
But the policy actually makes it more expensive and more difficult to send immigrant families back to their home countries. Under the Obama Administration, when the family was kept together, they could be returned under an expedited process. However, unaccompanied minors are not permitted to be processed under the expedited program, which means not only that children are separated from their families, but they are kept from each other for a longer period of time. There are reports, in fact, that mothers are being deported five weeks after entering the country while their children remain in these detention centers. Trump has turned an ugly process into a needlessly inhumane one.
And now? The AP reports that there are also “tender age shelters,” where children under five years old are put into warehouses. These facilities house up to 240 children under the age of 5.
Rachel Maddow has the only fitting response to this news:
Rachel Maddow breaking down on live television is all of us. pic.twitter.com/KBa9ewcG48— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) June 20, 2018
To all my fellow parents out there: Remember that harrowing first year? You probably don’t remember that much, because our bodies have repressed the constant terror many of us felt every waking goddamn hour of the day. How many times did you wake up in the middle of the night just to peek into the crib to make sure your baby was still alive? We couldn’t leave the room without worrying, and there was never a moment that we left our children in the company of anyone who we didn’t trust, who didn’t care passionately for our children.
Now imagine these mothers who actually have endangered their own lives and the lives of their children to travel here. But why would they do that, unless the danger back home was larger? They are bringing their babies to this country to escape their abusers, and what happens when they get here? Border Patrol agents take their babies “for a bath,” and never return those babies. They are placed in warehouses; kids are put into cages where other children have to change their diapers.
It’s unconscionable. Even Geraldo fucking Rivera, on Fox News, agrees, as he vehemently stated on Hannity’s show last night: “This is not hysterical! This is not hysterical! This is child abuse! How dare you! How dare you!”
We live in two Americas. There is the compassionate America, where we can’t even talk about “tender age shelters” without breaking down.
And then there’s Trump America, where Sean Hannity shouts down his own conservative Republican guest for suggesting that this is child abuse, and where a 10-year-old with Down’s Syndrome being separated from her mother and placed in a cage elicits a “Womp Womp.”
All from this Associated Press story that broke while I was on the air tonight, but which I was unable to read on the air:https://t.co/2VBLTVxvQq— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) June 20, 2018
Again, I apologize for losing it there for a moment. Not the way I intended that to go, not by a mile.
They separated a 10 year-old girl with Down Syndrome from her mother at the border.— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) June 19, 2018
Corey Lewandowski, Trump's former Campaign Manager, then MADE FUN OF IT. pic.twitter.com/ntoaJZZehI
And where Trump supporters exhibit zero compassion.
"Quit trying to make us feel teary-eyed for the children. Yes, I love children a great deal, but to me, it's up to the parents to do things rightfully and legally"— CNN (@CNN) June 20, 2018
What some Trump supporters think of family separations at the border: https://t.co/xWTCHQsfFJ pic.twitter.com/AB9iptDL0S
The Pope has spoken against this practice.
NEW: Pope Francis tells Reuters that he supports statements from US Catholic bishops who have called the separation of migrant children from their parents "contrary to our Catholic values" and "immoral."— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 20, 2018
Jeff Sessions’s own church has turned against him:
Members of Jeff Sessions’s own denomination accuse him of immorality, discrimination and "child abuse" https://t.co/D7lWcMjfRt— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) June 20, 2018
And men like Steve Schmidt, the campaign manager for John McCain, has renounced his membership in the Republican party.
29 years and nine months ago I registered to vote and became a member of The Republican Party which was founded in 1854 to oppose slavery and stand for the dignity of human life. Today I renounce my membership in the Republican Party. It is fully the party of Trump.— Steve Schmidt (@SteveSchmidtSES) June 20, 2018
This policy will be reversed. If not this week, this next week, or next month, but eventually. I hope. To the credit of many in this country, crying babies separated from their mothers and placed into warehouses is one thing I think we won’t allow to be normalized. There’s tremendous pressure on Congress, on the President, on the White House to reverse this policy. Hell, the DHS Secretary can’t eat in a restaurant without being shamed away. We’re standing up to this, and for that, I am proud of those who are speaking out, of those who are protesting, of those who assemble next Monday to show support for these immigrant families.
But this policy will forever be a stain on Trump, and it will forever be a stain on the rest of us for allowing that man to become President, knowing full well of what he was capable. It’s now another dark goddamn chapter in the history of our country. I just hope that this one doesn’t drag us under.