19 Jun 2018
Children face photographer, demonstrating their awareness of the fate of other children. Yes, we are aware that the US has not always been against the forcible separation of families. Native American children were taken from their homes and placed into boarding schools and taught to speak English, specifically to try and exterminate their culture. Slave families were routinely broken up. More than 900 newspaper ads placed by former slaves searching for family members were found and documented. But the current issue with the Trump Administration separating children from their families at the Mexican border reminds me of a discussion we had in an American history class.
We were discussing the Marshall Plan of 1947. My professor pointed out that Americans felt good about this as we were helping our European cousins. A student asked if we weren't just concerned about stopping communism and maintaining a large military and profitable arms sales. My professor responded that Americans didn't see a contradiction. We were getting a "two-fer," a two-for-the-price-of-one bargain where we could both be good and selfless and heroic and at the same time, could strengthen Western Europe against the Soviet Union. Looking at the largely white crowd down at Rittenhouse Square on June 19, it was clear there wasn't any contradiction between standing up for non-white people who were from Mexico and Central America and between being opposed to the Trump Administration.
So why is the President adopting what appears to be a climb-down from his policy? Well, probably because, as the blogger notes, when you're claiming that your policy isn't quite as bad as that of the Nazis, you're losing the argument, badly!
And you know your policy is in trouble when this happens.
Even far-right former French presidential candidate Marine le Pen said she was opposed to separating families. “I am opposed to a procedure that separates parents and children,” she told France 2 television Wednesday, according to the Washington Post.Generally, the Trump Administration has been all over the map when it has come to explaining why families are being separated at the border.
On the one hand, the Homeland Security secretary finds it “offensive” to even be asked whether the administration is trying to deter border crossings by separating children from their parents. On the other hand, Nielsen’s colleagues in the administration are on record saying the exact opposite.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who was also Nielsen’s predecessor at DHS, said last year he was considering – not because of a law, but as part of a deliberate choice – separating children from their families “in order to deter” illegal border crossings. Last month, Kelly, a close Nielsen ally, told NPR, “[A] big name of the game is deterrence. [Family separation] could be a tough deterrent – would be a tough deterrent.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, meanwhile, an ardent proponent of the family-separation policy, has made similar comments.
In other news, the US quit the UN Human Rights Council. The Trump Administration's UN Ambassador Nikki Haley wants everyone to believe that the Council is so far below our exacting standards that we're just disgusted with them. Yeah, kind of a problem with that. The Council is currently "investigating U.S. ally Saudi Arabia for its killing civilians in the war in Yemen." How is the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia?
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner met Wednesday with Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman in Saudi Arabia to discuss ongoing Middle East peace efforts.So it seems reasonably clear that our relationship is a pretty close one and that the US is not putting meaningful pressure on Saudi Arabia to respect human rights in Yemen.
How about the US relationship with the Palestinians? Well, Nikki Haley recently showed off a pair of stylish boots and explained that she used those boots to kick various opponents. She made it very clear that she placed the Palestinians in the category of opponents. Also, during the "Great March of Return," where residents of Gaza demonstrated on the border with Israel, the UN estimated that 128 Palestinians had been killed and over 13,000 were injured by live fire coming from Israel. It was clear that after the opening of the new US Embassy in Jerusalem had provoked even more killings on the border that Haley simply had no solutions other than to just blame Hamas.
Of course, the UN says that the US policy of separating children from families on the Mexican border "Offends US Asylum Law and Tradition." So no, it's really hard to make the case that the US is speaking from a vantage point where the US is in any sort of position of moral superiority.
Congratulations to Republican Senators Susan Collins and Richard Burr for joining Democrats in voting to keep the recission package off the Senate floor. This was a bill that would have extended the budget fight by essentially permitting a presidential veto of specific line items.
Collins' earlier action on the family immigration fight was worse than useless because her criticism of the Democratic bill made no sense. She wanted an extremely broad solution to the mess, a solution the President had already rejected.
So now that things with family immigrants are allegedly being fixed, how easy is it going to be to get all of the ripped-apart families back together? Uh, not very. Turns out that there is no tracking system for eventually reuniting parents and children. Getting them back together is something that no one in the Trump Administration put any time or thought into. It's not like the problem occurred suddenly. The bureaucrats under Trump have had since at least last summer. There are several bureaus and agencies involved, so it's anyone's guess how the mess is ever going to get straightened out.
So with the Trump family, what have we got? Personally, I was convinced shortly after the march in Charlottesville that the President was, at heart, very comfortable with white supremacists, from Nazis and fascists to the KKK. His son, Donald Jr., has shown that his sympathies are consistent with his fathers. Don Jr. re-tweeted some of Roseanne Barr's racist tweets that got her show cancelled. He also re-tweeted from a person who's pro-Taliban and anti-Malala Yousafzai, the poster girl for global female education. Ivanke Trump is less evil and more just plain useless to any liberal cause. She finally came out against separating families at the border after her dad said he'd stop doing it.
Ivanka Trump, a top adviser to the president, was supposed to be a voice for children and family issues in the administration. But as the family separation crisis unfolded, she was nowhere to be found.
If you sign a Daily Kos petition on this issue, you'll be taken to an ActBlue page, which lists four charities that work on the issue of trying to get families and children back together. The charities are:
Movimiento Cosecha: A movement fighting for permanent protection, dignity, and respect for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.
Mijente: A movement that is not just pro-Latinx, but is proudly pro-Black, pro-woman, pro-queer, and pro-poor.
UndocuBlack Network: Works to “Blackify” the undocumented immigrant narrative in the U.S. and facilitate access to resources for the Black undocumented community.
United We Dream: Organizes and advocates for the dignity and fair treatment of immigrant youth and families, regardless of immigration status.