The stinky mess that Donald Trump has created at the Mexican border is getting worse every day.
The president and his evil henchmen — Jeff Sessions and Kirstjen Nielsen — have put into effect new policies and programs designed to impose the maximum pain possible on people attempting to enter the United States.
They started with their zero tolerance policy in April which said every adult coming into the U.S. without proper documentation had to be arrested. After that came the logical next step: any arrested adult accompanied by minor children would have those children forcibly taken away from them and put in child detention facilities.
Zero tolerance combined with child separation is a nightmare, and the subsequent outcry came from everywhere, including the Pope, the United Nations, Republicans in Congress and even the evangelical leaders of the pro-Trump Religious Right.
After Trump issued an executive order supposedly ending child separations, many people realized that in some ways he’d just made things more confusing because:
- His executive order had exceptions allowing child separations to continue, and
- Without child separations the children would accompany their parents to jail, which would be illegal.
On the first point, according to our article from last Thursday:
“The order signed by Trump on Wednesday calls for those families to be detained together but it permits separation if deemed that detention with a parent “would pose a risk to the child’s welfare.” Family unity is the policy “where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources,” the order said.”
“Legal experts said this language could be exploited by the government to separate families on various grounds and be challenged in court, potentially adding to the welter of litigation against Trump’s hardline immigration policy.”
But the bigger problem with Trump’s executive order is #2 above. For several decades it has been prohibited for the federal government to keep children incarcerated with their parents for more than 20 days.
And now, even while Trump administration lawyers are trying to get this rule overturned in federal court, complicit Republicans in Congress are trying to get the law changed to allow the children to be kept in jail longer.
“GOP lawmakers are readying an immigration bill that would allow detained migrant children to stay in detention centers with their parents for more than 20 days”
One reason the mess made by Trump, Sessions and Nielsen is getting worse is that all of the child detention camps are full. They are also running out of space to keep all of the adults they are arresting under the zero tolerance policy.
On top of that, it has been widely reported that there is no plan in place to return the separated children to their families. This means that Trump’s program may result in permanent separations, which is an unbelievably cruel and heartless way to try to solve America’s immigration issues.
Republicans know they have a huge problem with many dimensions. They are facing condemnation from every quarter. They are losing the support of many of their voters. They have legal issues and potentially massive lawsuits against them.
The latest report of a new bill in Congress to allow children to be jailed with their parents indefinitely shows how completely incompetent and inept the Republican leaders in Congress are. For them to think this is the right way to solve the problem of family separations at the border is inconceivable.
If the new GOP legislation is passed by Congress and signed by Trump it will be just one more example of how horrible Republican-led government is, and how badly we need a new party in charge in Washington, D.C..
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.