Wednesday, May 30, 2018

This Is Evil




Last week, I like many Americans, learned that hundreds of immigrant children have been separated from their parents at the US border in recent months. Contrary to what the president has said, there is no "law" requiring this to happen. This, however, is the policy of our federal government: to take children, babies even, from their mothers, often with no indication of where they are being taken and when or how they can be reunited.

There is evidence that many are placed in what can only be described as prison camps (some of these facilities are even run by the same companies that run for-profit prisons). The president's chief of staff has been quoted as callously saying that the children will ultimately placed in "foster care or whatever." The attorney general has ordered border officers to separate children from their parents as a "deterrent," seemingly taking no notice of the fact that many of these people are fleeing "situations of extraordinary violence," according to Jennifer Nagda, policy director at the Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights, the organization that, by law, is appointed as the independent child advocate for vulnerable children crossing the border. Nagda says they have been "overwhelmed" by the increase of children being forcibly separated from their parents.

This is evil. There is no reason to do this other than to inflict pain on others, both the parents and their kids, who are being damaged emotionally, socially, and physically. We know this. Everyone knows this. This is what totalitarian dictators have always done to the vulnerable. It is every parent's worst nightmare and it must stop. The people advocating for this -- John Kelly, Jeff Sessions, and despite his protestations, the president himself -- are attempting to hide behind "law and order," the favorite hiding place of vicious, heartless villains. What they are doing is a well-known form of state terror.

As Nagda says, "(T)here's nothing illegal about coming to our border and asking for asylum. These families are not necessarily trying to sneak in. They are coming to our border, they are presenting themselves to border officials, and they are asking for help." Indeed, my America has always been a place where we opened our arms to those in distress. I do not want to live in a place that tears crying infants from the arms of their mothers.

I don't know what to do about this aside from raising holy, moral hell. Please join me. There can be no partisanship about this.

(Note: There are, simultaneously, stories in the media of some 1,500 immigrant children who have been "lost" by authorities. This appears to be a hyperbolic headline. These children are likely not missing and there are many immigration experts who are warning that it could endanger these children if we continue to conflate these two separate issues. There is evil happening at our southern border. It is real and horrifying, but we have, thankfully not lost 1,500 children.)

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