In a move that can only be described as the political equivalent of vamping on a piano, Donald Trump claims that he will sign an order to prevent the separation of migrant families at the border.
What exactly will Trump be signing? “Something.”
When will he be signing it? “In a little while.”
“I’ll be signing something in a little while that’s going to do that,” Trump told reporters today about his hope to prevent the future separation of migrant families by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “I’ll be doing something that’s somewhat pre-emptive and ultimately will be matched by legislation I’m sure.”
“We’re keeping families together, but we have to keep our borders strong. We will be overrun with crime and with people that should not be in our country.”
Pres. Trump addressing "dilemma" with immigration policy: "If you're really pathetically weak the country is going to be overrun by millions of people, and if you're strong then you don't have any heart… perhaps I'd rather be strong." https://t.co/D1BvTX2vHX pic.twitter.com/WBcoSXGdnj
— ABC News (@ABC) June 20, 2018
Trump further hedged his promise by saying that “If you’re really pathetically weak the country is going to be overrun by millions of people, and if you’re strong then you don’t have any heart… perhaps I’d rather be strong.”
Even if Trump does manage to sign “something” to prevent the future separation of families, the damage is already done as far as many of these children are concerned.
The conditions in migrant youth shelters are unsettling, and the children are frequently crying and distressed. Colleen Kraft, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, visited one of these facilities and told The Washington Post that the employees at these shelters aren’t even allowed to hug the kids to comfort them in their time of crisis:
Inside a room dedicated to toddlers was a little girl no older than 2, screaming and pounding her fists on a mat. One woman tried to give her toys and books to calm her down, but even that shelter worker seemed frustrated, Kraft told The Washington Post, because as much as she wanted to console the little girl, she couldn’t touch, hold or pick her up to let her know everything would be all right.
In the event that employees cannot calm the children, they occasionally resort to more extreme measures.
One current lawsuit against the Shiloh Treatment Center just south of Houston, TX, claims that children detained there are held down and forcibly injected with “powerful psychiatric drugs.”
“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist here; it looks like they’re trying to control agitation and aggressive behavior with antipsychotic drugs,” forensic psychiatrist Mark. J. Mills told Reveal News. “You don’t need to administer these kinds of drugs unless someone is plucking out their eyeball or some such. The facility should not use these drugs to control behavior. That’s not what antipsychotics should be used for. That’s like the old Soviet Union used to do.”
In some heartbreaking cases, children are never actually reunited with their parents.
“Permanent separation. It happens.” Former head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement John Sandweg told NBC News. “You could easily end up in a situation where the gap between a parent’s deportation and a child’s deportation is years.”
If this happens, it can be nearly impossible for parents to keep track of where their children are being held or to communicate with them — thereby making it all the more unlikely that the families will be reunited. Sandweg says that if children are held in the country long enough, they may eventually become wards of the state and be adopted.
In April, the Trump administration implemented their “zero tolerance policy,” which is largely responsible for the influx of children in these migrant youth shelters. To now turn around and claim that the separation of families is reprehensible and ought to be dealt with is hypocrisy at its finest.
Personally? I’m not holding my breath for any progressive policy changes in regards to this administration’s stance on immigration issues.