IF you are a parent like I am, would you do everything humanely possible to bring your children out of danger, famine, threats, oppression — just like what the Europeans did when they sought refuge and asylum and settled in the land of the American Indians that we now call the United States of America?
This was exactly what the parents of some 2000 young children, including babies, did when they took the risk and crossed (or attempted to cross) the southern border of America.
Most of these parents did not know that in taking this risk to give a safer better life for their children, their young kids would be ripped from them and be detained in metal cages away from their own detention centers.
For a moment, put your self in the position of these parents. What would you feel knowing your children have been wailing and crying, looking for you, amid strangers and other children lost and wondering where their parent could be. Would that not break your heart?
What would you say and what would you do if your child is among those poor helpless kids? Would you not do anything and just coldly and defiantly say “They are illegal. They deserve to be there. Blame their parents. Blame the Democrats.” Would that be how you would respond if your own child is being traumatized?
This is exactly what is going on now since the Trump administration announced its “zero tolerance policy” to punish undocumented immigrants crossing or attempting to cross the border. Young children had been separated from their parents and would never know when they could ever see them again.
Amid the backlash and criticisms of this inhumane policy, President Donald Trump said, “I hate children being taken away. The Democrats have to change their law. That’s their law!”
NO, Mr. Trump. That is your policy. While we have to protect our borders and impose immigration laws and fix our broken immigration system by passing a comprehensive reform, you are lying to the American people by saying this is the Democrats’ law. No, Mr. President. You caused this problem. You traumatized those detained children in cages. You separated them from their parents. You scarred them for life.
“While it is true that at the height of the 2014 migrant crisis, when there was a surge in unaccompanied minors crossing the border, the Obama administration placed a large number of families in detention centers. But these families—many of them fleeing violence in Central America—were allowed to remain together while their claims were being processed.
“Under Trump’s ‘zero-tolerance’ policy, however, all adults caught crossing the border are criminally prosecuted, with no exceptions. As a result, thousands of children have been taken away from their parents and treated as if they had tried to cross the border alone. In some cases, undocumented adults are being deported without their children, who remain detained in federal immigration facilities with no way to contact their parents. Immigration experts worry that some families may be permanently separated.” (Vanity Fair, June 18, 2018)
YES, Mr. President. You are using these small helpless children as pawns, as leverage with Democrats to agree to fund your border wall, just as you used the young undocumented immigrants brought into the United States illegally with no fault of their own.
And you even tweeted, “Democrats are the problem. They don’t care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country, like MS-13. They can’t win on their terrible policies, so they view them as potential voters.”
“INFEST”? Do you regard immigrants as pests? I know you wrote “undocumented” but your other policies and rhetoric sure reveal what is in your heart and soul: Make America WHITE again.
Did you not hear the outrage among both the Democrats and Republicans, and among people all over the world, Mr. President? Sure you did. You pulled the United States out of the United Nations Human Rights Council a day after the UN’s top human rights official criticized the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.
Did you hear that a bipartisan group of more than 70 former U.S. attorneys are calling on your Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reverse the Trump administration’s policy of prosecuting all people who cross the border illegally, saying it is “dangerous, expensive, and inconsistent” with the values of the Justice Department?
Did you know that a big majority of Americans, 66 percent, oppose the separation of immigrant families at the border, according to the latest Quinnipiac Poll?
The truth of the matter is, if indeed you feel bad about these children being traumatized by being separated from their parents, YOU HAVE THE POWER TO STOP THIS in the interim! Do what President Barack Obama did and detain these kids together with their parents as their cases are being heard. Fix the broken immigration system and stop that fixation in building your wall that you promised Mexico will pay.
What is happening now is so very much against the soul of America and the values that we stand for. Use your power to do what is humane and just, President Trump.
MAKE AMERICA HUMANE AGAIN!
* * *
Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com, https://www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos