Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday June 19, 2018
Trump admin’s gyrating story on separating families at the border insults our intelligence
Don’t blame us. In response to growing public outrage over family separations at the border, the president said on Friday that he wasn’t responsible for the policy. “I hate the children being taken away,” Donald Trump said. “The Democrats have to change their law. It’s their law.” His sentiments have been echoed by top administration officials and leading Republicans.
The problem is that such statements are at best misleading and at worst flat out lies. The family separations at the border are a byproduct of decisions by the Trump administration. It speaks volumes that the president and some of his allies are unwilling to own the policy of separating children from their parents — let alone offer a sound legal basis for it.
The president has repeatedly claimed that Democrats are responsible for the family separations that have become a national scandal. But as news outlets such as The Associated Press have pointed out, this is not true. It is Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ “zero tolerance” policy, which requires that nearly all unauthorized border crossers be criminally prosecuted, that has led to families being split apart.
Because minors cannot be sent to adult jails, there are now nearly 11,000 immigrant children <https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/surge-migrant-children-government-shelters-trump-admin-pushes-zero-tolerance-n878601> in government custody without their parents.
Yet on Sunday night, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen tweeted, “We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period.”
This statement defies reality — especially given that Homeland Security has published guidelines on its website outlining how such separations take place.
Sadly, prominent Republicans have followed the president’s lead in assigning blame for this inhumane policy. “What is happening at the border in the separation of parents and their children is because of a court ruling,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said at a news conference Thursday. That same day, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, tweeted, “I want 2 stop the separation of families at the border by repealing the Flores 1997 court decision requiring separation of families + give DOJ the tools it needs 2 quickly resolve cases.” (Source: USA Today)