The Trump administration continues its “zero-tolerance’’ policy of separating children from parents who are caught entering the country illegally. More than 2,300 minors were taken from their parents from May 5 to June 9, The Associated Press reported Tuesday. Federal lawmakers are working on legislation to put an end to the policy; Republican leaders met with President Donald Trump on Tuesday night to talk about immigration.
Outrage, disbelief and a sense of urgency are swelling far beyond America’s southern border as Spanish-speaking children — mostly from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador — are taken from their parents.
News reports carry images of children held in cages at border facilities. On an audio recording released by nonprofit ProPublica and distributed through the AP and other news outlets this week, the small voice of a tearful child calls out, “Papa! Papa!”
Yet Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen tells us that these children are being treated humanely.
We fail to find humanity in the practice of tearing children from the loving and secure arms of mothers and fathers.
Think about that.
These little ones — let’s picture our own children and grandchildren — must be terrified, and will surely suffer trauma for years to come, if not for their entire lives, because of a policy that is the antithesis of a country that preaches the sanctity of the family.
Our position on this topic is unchanged from what we wrote May 31: It’s an obscenity, and it’s un-American.
And the growing decibel level of opposition is telling.
“All Americans are rightly horrified by the images we are seeing on the news, children in tears pulled away from their mothers and fathers,” said Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who reversed his position on the separations and was introducing emergency legislation this week to halt them. “This must stop.”
From the U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Donahue: “Thousands of children are being forcibly removedfrom their parents by
He believes that a country as big and generous as the United States can find a way to prevent separations of minors from their parents, the AP reported.
“There is no other way to say it, this is not who we are and it must end now.”
And Kansas GOP Sen. Pat Roberts said he was “against using parental separation as a deterrent to illegal immigration.”
At a House hearing Tuesday that had nothing to do with immigration, protesters cradling babies and holding a sign that stated “Families belong together” briefly stopped the proceedings.
“Disgraceful’’ was the word the Rev. Franklin Graham, a steadfast Trump supporter, used to describe the policy. And the Mormon church said it was “deeply troubled” by the separation of families and urged national leaders to find compassionate solutions, the AP reported.
“I don’t think the answer to family separation is to not enforce the law. I think the answer to family separation is: Don’t separate families while you’re enforcing the law,” Republican John Cornyn of Texas said. “It’s all within our power, and people have to overcome their desire to preserve an issue to campaign on.”
Democratic attorneys general — 21 of them — are demanding an end to the policy. A statement from first lady Melania Trump’s office said she “hates” to see families separated at the border. “She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart,” said her spokeswoman.
Four former first ladies also weighed in, including Laura Bush in a piece published Sunday by The Washington Post.
“I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart,” she said on Twitter.
In a tweet Monday, Lila Rose, founder and president of the pro-life Live Action, wrote, “I agree that we need to secure our borders & our system needs reform. Let’s do that.
“But children should never be used as tools for deterrence, or pawns in a political game. If parents aren’t abusing, separation of families at the border is not necessary.
“Let’s do better, USA!”
Yes, let’s do better — immediately.