Almost 2,000 children. That is the ongoing human toll of suffering the United States is wreaking on children ripped from their parents because our Congress and president are too feckless to come up with a decent, humane and workable immigration policy.
The cost of our American leaders’ incompetence is being paid in the cries of toddlers taken from their parents and warehoused in federal custody because their families made the desperate calcuation that the real risk of violence, murder or destitution at home was higher than the dangerous journey north from Central America or Mexico.
Is this the United States we want? We say loudly and firmly: No.
The cruelty of childhood is how adult failures end up on the backs of the youngest and most vulnerable.
President Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and anyone who tries to whitewash, downplay or defend this inhumane action is complicit in this outrage.
The estimate is now almost 2,000 children have been separated from their parents by immigration officials and placed in federal custody since the policy started in April. They are housed in large facilities, such as a converted Walmart building, without knowing what’s happening or where their parents are — and their parents don’t know where their children have been taken.
A Tucson man who until recently worked at such a shelter described the conditions as prison-like to the Los Angeles Times.
Immigration as a campaign issue, and the demonization of immigrants, are hallmarks of the Trump administration.
And this, traumatizing young children and prosecuting their parents on a federal immigration misdemeanor, if they’re first-time crossers, is their solution.
Read that again: Institutionalized child abuse is the best they could come up with.
Sessions, who has turned to the Bible to justify the policy, has said that any blame to be had for separating families falls on the parents who brought their children into the U.S.
Immigrating is a life-or-death decision for a parent trying to survive and protect their children. Sessions acts as if the parents’ decision was to bring their rowdy kids along to a dinner party uninvited.
The policy is from Washington, but it’s carried out by individual agents. Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger asked during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops last week if there should be “canonical penalties,” which include denial of sacraments and excommunication, for people involved in separating families.
Even Trump on Friday tried to pretend his administration’s family separation policy isn’t of its own making, and blamed Democrats.
The broken immigration system and the need for change are adult problems. Adults separate ourselves into countries, with borders. All children know is they reach for their parents with the same heartbreaking, human cry.