Yes, Trump actually said that. He told the graduating class of the US Naval Academy in Annapolis MD that “The United States is being respected again.” If it is, then it’s in spite of him, and most definitely because of him. I think Trump believes that we’re being respected because the Saudi’s let him touch their round nightlight, and wander around with a sword that wasn’t made of styrofoam, and the Chinese sent a guy from the mail room with a bunch of $1 store medals on his chest to meet him at the airport, and served him a dinner that didn’t come from a cardboard tub .
But, if anybody out there in the rest of the world who isn’t playing Trump for a chump actually still does respect us, that’s about to change when this gets wider circulation. Trump’s inexcusable Chief of Staff, John Kelly, made a bit of a splash a few weeks ago when he floated the proposition that one possible way of dealing with illegal immigrants was to separate the children from their parents. It kind of got lost in the deluge of other, more sensational sins, but I remember seeing the story at the time, and thinking “what an asshole.” Kelly later reiterated the position, stating that it could be “an effective deterrent.”
Well, guess what kiddies? As it turns out, we’re already doing that! Chris Hayes had a gut wrenching segment on All In last night, with two prominent civil rights attorneys who work largely with immigrants, who documented case after case of this already happening!
The most striking case was of a woman and her 7 year old daughter. The Washington Post did a detailed article on the case back in February. The woman took her daughter and fled the Congo, fearing for their lives. Not Guatemala, not Mexico, the Congo. Somehow or other, they managed to make their way to the port of entry in San Diego, where the woman tearfully requested asylum for herself and her daughter. After passing an immigration screening interview, the woman and her daughter were placed into administrative custody. Within a few days, Customs and Border Patrol forcibly removed the child from her mothers care, and flew her to an Unaccompanied Minor Refugee Resettlement Center. In Chicago! The woman is cooling her heels in San Diego, and her 7 year old daughter is 2000 miles away in what is basically a government run orphanage. For unaccompanied minors. The only reason that she was unaccompanied was because CBP forcibly ripped her from her mothers arms and plunked her there in the first place! The two were separated for more than four months, and once the woman was finally released from custody, she had to jump through several more flaming administrative hoops before the two were finally reunited. Oh, and Welcome To America!
This would have been bad enough if it was just a one shot deal, a numbskull in a blue uniform having a bad hair day, but unfortunately it isn’t. According to the two attorneys, this is becoming a more and more frequent occurrence. This policy would be odious enough if it were only being used in the context that Kelly referred to it in, mainly as a deterrent to keep families from crossing the border illegally. But it is even being used in cases where parents with children are showing up at official border control points, in full compliance with existing US refugee immigration laws, seeking asylum. And please, remember, this isn’t like the parents are being held in room 217 of a hotel, and the kids are in room 539. In another case, an undocumented woman was held in Teas, and again, her young child was shipped up to Chicago. And worst of all, CBP and ICE are as uncooperative as they can possibly be once the parents are released in facilitating their reunification with their children.
And the CBP and ICE know they’re maliciously screwing up, because they can provide immigration judges with neither authorization nor justification for the forced separations under questioning. Their flavor-of-the-month excuse is “Well, shucks judge. They don’t have any documentation, so how are we supposed to know if the kid is really theirs.” No shit. That really is their well thought out, reasoned explanation. Fortunately, the immigration judges are not being swayed by this load of poppycock, and are ordering DNA tests, which invariably confirm paternity or maternity. Leading to a heel dragging response in reuniting parents and children.
Look, I’m going to give an example so simple even an idiot Trump supporter can understand it. You’re sitting on your sprung sofa, chugging a Buckhorn, when you read in Der Sturmer that the black helicopters are coming to take your guns, and throw you into a “resettlement center.” You grab your wallet and your young daughter, and you light off top speed for Canada, and refuge from the Orange gelatinous blob in Washington. While you’re sitting in a room in Niagara Falls, Ontario, filling out forms, and answering questions, a Mountie comes in and says he’s taking your daughter to the cafeteria for lunch. Several hours later, in a break in the grilling, you ask the border control officer, “Hey son, where’s my daughter?” Without even looking up from the papers spread in front of him, the guy replies “Calgary.”
Look, this isn’t just another in an endless stream of domestic Trump outrages, a penance we must pay for being unwary enough to allow this despicable pocket dictator to slide into the Oval Office. This is a brewing international humanitarian humiliation, and we’re the ones brewing it. How many times have you shaken your head while watching a television report on the diabolical way despotic countries treat their refugees? Well, guess what? It’s about to be people in France, Germany, the UK, and all points elsewhere, shaking their heads, and thanking their lucky stars that they don’t live here. And if you’re as pissed off about it as I am, please call your congressmen and Senators first thing on Monday morning, and tell them to put a stop to this inhumane practice. That’s what I’m going to do, and I hope you’ll join me. I don’t much like being embarrassed to be an American.