The tide of opposition to the Trump administration’s practice of separating children from their families after they cross the border without documentation or authorization is continuing to grow. The newly instituted policy, which has no legal mandate, has left thousands of immigrant children in government custody in recent months.
As the weeks and months of scrutiny continue to pile on, all four living former first ladies have now come out against the policy. They join many others in having done so; the four of them include members of both major political parties in the United States, but as Michelle Obama put it in her response to the issue:
‘Sometimes truth transcends party.’
Sometimes truth transcends party. https://t.co/TeFM7NmNzU
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) June 18, 2018
Obama, with that comment, was responding to a piece posted by Laura Bush that she had written for The Washington Post calling out the family separations. Although the Bushes have never been particularly fond of Donald Trump in the first place, they are Republicans all the same, but even still, she said:
‘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.’
The zero tolerance policy she mentions entails those crossing the border being prosecuted to the full extent of the law, which involves children being taken into government custody if they’re present while adults go through prosecution. It is not a crime to seek asylum in the United States, although it is a nonviolent criminal offense to cross the border without proper documentation or authorization.
Even still, imagine if the United States jailed every single person charged with a nonviolent criminal misdemeanor. That’s just not the way a policing system that has respect for the rule of law and the individual works. On top of that, the American Civil Liberties Union has alleged that it’s not even just those seeking to cross the border in between approved ports of entry without documentation that are being separated from their families — it’s others, too, including those who have sought asylum at approved entry points to the United States.
Sec. Nielsen says DHS is not separating asylum seekers who arrive at ports of entry. That is not true. Here is the ACLU’s lawsuit over one such case https://t.co/xR4w0S7OYG
— Pema Levy (@pemalevy) June 18, 2018
For Laura Bush, the wanton detention and separation of children from their families calls to mind the Japanese internment camps instituted during the World War II era. She called images of the detained children “eerily reminiscent of the Japanese-American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history,” adding that such treatment is known to inflict trauma.
The treatment of undocumented immigrants at the border calls to mind the conditions Cambodian refugees were subjected to during her time as first lady for Rosalynn Carter.
‘The practice and policy today of removing children from their parents’ care at our border with Mexico is disgraceful and a shame to our country.’
Hillary Clinton, the only other living former first lady not already mentioned, has weighed in on the issue of the family separations too, calling the practice “an affront to our values.”
She also joined those who have called out the Trump administration for their attempt to use the Bible to justify the policy, commenting:
‘Jesus Christ said, “Suffer the children unto me,” not “let the children suffer.”‘
The continuing-to-grow rounds of criticism have not yet deterred the Trump administration, which continues to peddle an array of excuses ranging from the aforementioned Biblical one to one of their own policy somehow being the Democrats’ fault.
Featured Image via SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images