Over recent weeks, the Trump administration has imposed a policy of forced family separations for any group of people apprehended trying to make their way into the country without documentation over the United States’ southern border. That decision has earned the administration significant backlash as thousands of immigrant children have been torn from their families and housed in conditions that have been compared to jail.
One of those to speak out against the Trump administration’s family separations is Bill Clinton, the former president. On Sunday, which is Father’s Day in the United States, he wrote on Twitter:
‘On this Father’s Day I’m thinking of the thousands of children separated from their parents at the border. These children should not be a negotiating tool. And reuniting them with their families would reaffirm America’s belief in & support for all parents who love their children.’
As Clinton mentions, the children being held apart from their families are, President Donald Trump recently admitted, being used as a “negotiating tool.”
Repeatedly, the president and his allies blamed Democrats for the policy despite the fact that one, there’s no law on the books mandating family separations, and two, if there was, Republicans could change it since they’re the majority party across the federal government.
More recently, Trump tweeted a message getting at what he really meant by claiming the family separations to be the Democrats’ fault. He explained that the children being held is meant to compel opponents to his immigration policy to support it.
On Friday, he said:
‘The Democrats are forcing the breakup of families at the Border with their horrible and cruel legislative agenda. Any Immigration Bill MUST HAVE full funding for the Wall, end Catch & Release, Visa Lottery and Chain, and go to Merit Based Immigration. Go for it! WIN!’
In light of that and other similar messages from the president, Clinton’s sentiment is right on point. It is as if the government has taken the children in question hostage and is holding a gun to them, asserting they will shoot if Democrats don’t obey their wishes.
This situation isn’t actually the first time Republicans have done something like this since Donald Trump took office as president. Republicans delayed restarting funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, otherwise known as CHIP, for months. Their delays got the issue to coexist alongside some of the many questions about immigration policy, and they attached their plans for addressing both issues together. Thus, they made it so that they could claim Democrats to be opposing children’s health care because they wouldn’t get on board en masse with the Republicans’ immigration policy plans.
It’s not as though Trump and the Republicans’ immigration policy plans are on point. For years now he’s been touting the supposed necessity of a wall along the U.S./ Mexico border that would cost billions and billions of dollars to put up.
Across the board, the administration has fought to cut back immigration into the United States, including through such recent means as cutting most concerns about domestic and gang violence out of those that can weigh on an asylum application.
It all goes back to Trump’s initial contention as a candidate that immigrants as a group pose some kind of threat to the United States, and it wasn’t true then and it isn’t now.
Check out Twitter’s response to Bill Clinton below.
Featured Image via Jack Taylor/Getty Images