Speak out against separations

Published 8:12 pm Saturday, June 23, 2018

It doesn’t matter whose policy it is or what party instituted it. It’s inhumane, horrifying, traumatizing and just plain wrong, and that’s the bottom line.

I speak, of course, of the topic everyone is talking about — the separation of immigrant families at the southern border of the United States.

For the past few months, a new “zero tolerance” policy instituted by the Trump administration has required all illegal border crossings or attempted illegal border crossings to be prosecuted. Despite the fact that the administration could simply deport these families together to their home countries, they have chosen to separate thousands of children from their parents and other relatives while they prosecute the adults for a misdemeanor.

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Repeat — the first offense is a misdemeanor. Almost nobody in America serves jail time for a first-offense misdemeanor. It could simply be a civil penalty, but the Trump administration has chosen to make it far, far worse.

Worse still, the government appears to have no plan or policy for how to reunite families after the adults are released. Families are losing their children simply for trying to seek a better life for themselves. Some have even been separated after legally presenting themselves at an official port of entry and asking for asylum. Reports indicate that workers are lying to parents about why their children are being taken away, with excuses ranging from that the kids are being questioned to the kids are being bathed.

Yes, it’s true that previous administrations have cracked down on immigration in various ways, but these policies did not mandate the separation of families.

Independent journalists have mostly been denied the opportunity to take photographs or video in these facilities. Tours allowed for journalists have been tightly controlled. Most video and photographs seen on the news have come from the government, so that they are able to control all aspects of how it is portrayed.

In process, it’s eerily similar to the tour of Theresienstadt given to the Danish Red Cross and International Red Cross in 1944, where Nazis directed prisoners to build fake shops and cafes, took the visitors to see people living in freshly painted rooms and staged a children’s opera for them. Before and after this propaganda tour, thousands of Theresienstadt residents were shipped off to their deaths at Auschwitz and other extermination camps.

You have to ask yourself — if there’s nothing wrong at these holding centers for children, why aren’t journalists being allowed in? What doesn’t the federal government want you to see?

Trump’s executive order last week temporarily stopped the separation of children from their parents, but some accounts suggest it may make things worse in the long run.

This horrific separation of children from their parents is the humanitarian crisis of our time. It’s impossible to know the long-lasting effects on these families and on our society, but we will be paying for it for a long, long time.

We must speak out against this.