The President's War on Children

Children are bearing the brunt of President Trump’s anti-immigration strategy © U.R. Romano

Children are bearing the brunt of President Trump’s anti-immigration strategy © U.R. Romano

In the last week, six thousand active duty soldiers along with Apache helicopters and support personnel have been dispatched by President Trump to address what he says is a national security threat on our southern border, to stop a caravan that is half women and children who have spent a month walking more than 1000 miles while exposed to hunger and dehydration while sleeping on the ground.

The spectacle of the most powerful nation on earth behaving like an angry bully, using the American military to protect us from some of the poorest people on earth is shameful and disgusting to me. The scale of the resources being deployed and wasted is appalling- a ragtag caravan of migrants will be met by twice the number of active duty American servicemen and women in a flagrant abuse of Presidential power. There is no threat to our national security – it's a phony crisis created entirely by President Trump for electoral gain without basis in fact.

 I am not surprised. This President and administration have already separated parents and children, sending babies thousands of miles away to detention centers, harming them permanently. There are still children that have not been reunited with their families and our government has literally created orphans by losing track of the whereabouts of their deported parents.

The spectacle and reality of state-sponsored kidnapping was so wrenching for Americans to see and hear on the nightly news that even Trump backed down. The new policies he's currently adopted include holding families in tents indefinitely, along with new separations of children and parents that would continue indefinitely in a clear violation of existing American immigration law.

There is a heartlessness to all of this behavior that is stunning in its pure lack of empathy. I can think of nothing in my lifetime to rival the purely political pandering that Trump uses time and again at the expense of impoverished children. His Cabinet-level advisors should share moral accountability for implementing these horrific, racist policies.

Trump has told us, without evidence, that this migrant caravan includes Middle Eastern terrorists. His lieutenants have told us they can't prove he's wrong while knowing full well the claim is baseless. Fox News has told us the caravan is infected with smallpox even though smallpox has been eliminated worldwide since the 1980's.

Now, Trump has announced that he can end birthright citizenship with a simple executive order. That's a piece of news that even the Republican Speaker of the House finds illegal. For those unfamiliar with our Constitution, the 14th Amendment guarantees citizenship to any person born or naturalized in America. This Amendment would have to be repealed by another amendment to the Constitution. That's America as our founders framed it, not as Trump imagines it.

Our President is in love with his own power. What better target than women and children for a common bully whose actual agenda is to drive Americans apart by using fear and race baiting to turn out his electoral base. This is the same President that ended the DACA program, thus enabling his Department of Homeland Security to pursue over 600,000 youngsters brought to this country as babies by their parents. These same young people have served in our military, attended college, and paid taxes. Now Trump wants to send them back to countries they have never lived in. As usual, Trump expressed great sympathy for the Dreamers, until he betrayed them by ending the program for his own political purposes.

Today the Administration is spending a small fortune expanding tent cities to hold indefinitely people who are coming to this country to claim asylum – a legitimate human right guaranteed worldwide by a collection of eight UN Treaties the United States is signatory to. If violating international law isn't sufficient cause for alarm, a President who ignores our existing immigration law to practice selective racism should be held to account by Congress and the American people.  We should not tolerate this behavior and we must vote accordingly in the upcoming midterms and the 2020 Presidential election. Members of Congress with a working conscience should stand up against these immoral and unethical practices.

With his broad claims of America under attack and being "invaded", the President has singled out impoverished Latinos as the enemy. In his fertile imagination, they are murderers and drug smugglers who just happen to enjoy walking a thousand miles with minimal food or shelter.

The administrative remedies the DHS is putting in place will enable our Border Patrol to hold families indefinitely in detention in violation of our current immigration laws, to force parents to make the emotionally wrenching decision to have their children taken and incarcerated at detention centers, often in other states. Effectively, this "binary choice" system holds children hostage and places them into the same system used months ago when state-sponsored kidnapping became so repellent that even Trump had to beat a quick retreat.

In a final irony, Mexico has offered members of the caravan food and assistance along with asylum. As Trump wages war on defenseless women and children, the country he has demonized most is the government doing the right thing.