Growing anger at Trump’s child separation policy

[UPDATE: It appears that Trump is going to sign an executive order to end the child separation policy. Given that he and attorney general Sessions, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Stephen Miller, and Kirstjen Nielsen have been saying for days that this was not their fault and that they were forced to adopt the cruel policy because it was the law that was enacted by the Democrats and that it was up to Congress to change the law, this action would reveal it for the lie that it always was. But being caught in obvious lies does not bother this crew nor their supporters. They have no shame.]

It looks like the Trump administration which, as a matter of policy, tries to ramp up the cruelty of its actions against immigrants of color because it plays well with its base, is surprised that the level of anger against its tactic of forcibly separating immigrant children from their parents is rising. Increasing numbers of Republican elected officials are distancing themselves from the policy and even Trump bootlickers like British prime minister Theresa May are voicing concerns. And how bad must it be when even French far-right leader Marine Le Pen, a Trump soul mate if there ever was one, says that she disagrees with the policy of separating children from parents?

Apparently even Trump conceded at a private meeting with Republican members of congress that the policy ‘does look bad’ and was not going down well. Republicans are now trying to find ways to get themselves out of this situation without angering their base that seems to love these acts of cruelty against immigrants. But they are not being helped by the fact that key people in the Trump administration seem to actually relish causing the misery.

Trump’s decision to double down on the family-separation policy is sowing chaos in the West Wing, two sources close to the White House told me.

White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller has all but become the face of the issue, a development that even supporters of Trump’s “zero-tolerance” position say is damaging the White House. “Stephen actually enjoys seeing those pictures at the border,” an outside White House adviser said. “He’s a twisted guy, the way he was raised and picked on. There’s always been a way he’s gone about this. He’s Waffen-SS.”

Yes, even a fellow Trump advisor calls him a Nazi. Ari Melber juxtaposes the rods of Miller with the sounds of crying children separated from their parents.

Things have got so bad that Kristjen Nielsen, the secretary of the Department of Homeland security, who seemed to actually enjoy tossing out callous and dishonest remarks about these policies, was hectored by a crowd while eating at (oh, the irony) a Mexican restaurant in DC and left to jeers.

And in Portland, Oregon another group of people blocked a prison run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, preventing employees from leaving.

On Monday ICE personnel showed up as usual to implement Trump’s deportation policies. By the end of the workday, the number of protesters swelled to about 70 and they sprang into action.

Three cars with darkened windows exited a garage and attempted to drive out the entrance. Some twenty protesters formed a line and locked arms. Staring down the drivers, “They blocked them from leaving the facility,” said Jacob Bureros, an organizer with the Direct Action Alliance.

The vehicles went back inside the ICE garage. Two officers with the Department of Homeland Security showed up to negotiate with the protesters. Jenny Nickolaus, another organizer with DAA, said a couple of dozen people engaged with the police in bulletproof vests. The two cops asked for “reasonable accommodation from the protesters.”

When asked what that meant, says Nickolaus, the DHS police pleaded with protesters “to allow nine ICE employees stuck inside to be able to ‘to go home to their families.’”

The protesters exploded with outrage “at the ridiculous irony in that statement,” says Nickolaus.

Bureros says, “People started yelling, ‘Oh, you need to go home to your families? What about the families you are holding.’”

The ICE employees left the building the next day under police escort via a different entrance but the prison is now closed because it is surrounded by about 200 protestors.

Even American Air and United Airlines have said they will not allow ICE to fly separated children on their planes, with the former issuing a statement that “We have no desire to be associated with separating families, or worse, to profit from it,” American Air said in a statement. “We have every expectation the government will comply with our request and we thank them for doing so.”

White House press spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders seems to be afraid of even answering the questions of the White House press corps on this issue, and we know what a docile group that is. Stephen Colbert lets her have it for her cowardice.


  1. says

    I heard yesterday that some in the White House were loving the reactions to this and saw it as a positive for them that would shore up their base. It looks like they really miscalculated there. Of course even after his failed hostage attempt, Orange Yeller will find a way to make himself the hero of this story.

  2. Whatever says

    Good thing it’s an executive order not a law change, that will make it easier to quietly revoke down the road.

  3. blf says

    Orange Yeller will find a way to make himself the hero of this story.

    Hair furor will imagine he is the hero and keep twittering that claim, asserting rebuttals, &tc, are all “Fake NEWS!”

    The reports I’m reading are the EO detains the children with the parents. As another commentator wrote, “So now the children will ‘only’ be punished for a ‘crime’ for which their parents have not yet been convicted (and which internment has already been ruled illegal beyond 20 days).”

    At the present time, I have no idea if the EO does anything about reuniting with their families the 2000-plus children who have already been separated. There is no known mechanism for reunifications: “There is no supervisor, there is no database saying, ‘child here, parent there,’ so they can come back together.”

  4. blf says

    Update to @3, There is nothing in the EO about reuniting the already-separated families (Grauniad live blog, 22:29 mark):

    he executive order offers no plan to reunite parents with the more 2,300 children recently torn from their families. Some Democrats are calling for an immediate plan
    [Kamala Harris]:

    This Executive Order in no way deals with reuniting the *two thousand three hundred* children who have been torn away from their parents and remain separated. When will they see their parents again? They must be reunited immediately.

    [… T]he American College of Physicians […]:

    [… T]he EO does not ensure that there will be a permanent end to the policy of separating children from their parents at the border, as ACP advocates. The order also fails to address what is going to happen with the thousands of children who have already been separated from their families and remain in the custody of the US government since the zero tolerance policy went into effect. Those children need to be reunited with their parents immediately. Any delay in reunification will exacerbate the negative health consequences inflicted on the children and their families.

    Additionally, ACP remains concerned about the negative health consequences that have already been borne by the children and parents who have been separated. Those negative health impacts cannot be reversed. The children who were taken from their families are more likely to experience increased mental health impacts like depression, an increased likelihood of engaging in risky behavior such as smoking and alcohol abuse and drug use, and increased likelihood to develop preventable illnesses like heart disease, cancer, or stroke. These are effects that will last their entire lives.

  5. blf says

    (Slightly edited cross-post from PZ’s current Political Madness All the Time thread here at FtB.)

    Follow-up on the already-separated children. The EO said nothing about unifying them with their families. They won’t be (23:54 mark):

    US officials are now saying there are no immediate plans to reunite children who have already been separated from their parents, despite the executive order ending this practice, according to multiple reports.


    There will not be a grandfathering of existing cases, said Kenneth Wolfe, a spokesman for the Administration for Children and Families, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services.

    Another reporter [Jacqueline Alemany] said there will be no “special efforts” to reunite children already torn from their families, meaning the government will continue for now to treat them as unaccompanied minors […]

    The dalekocracy is not known for having any idea what it is doing — albeit they do default to pure evil — so it possible, probable given the backlash that will happen, this nonsense will be reversed. Which they have no mechanism for doing (as previously mentioned).

  6. EigenSprocketUK says

    A common retort to those who advocate impeachment of Trump is “But Pence would be worse.”
    Whilst I can believe he is a worryingly ardent christian fundamentalist, I find it hard to believe Pence would have countenanced the Wormtongues who brought this idea and assured the president that it would improve his ratings.
    What do USA folk think?

  7. Pierce R. Butler says

    EigenSprocketUK @ # 8 -- This USAstani believes Pence could and would have by now turned the seized immigrant kids over to a waiting array of “Christian” adoption programs ready to collect big fees for trafficking them to parafascist families.

    (Pls note: that linked story claims this is already happening; I’m not so sure, but will acknowledge such agencies and families already exist, with proven records of nasty behavior.)

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