Trying to identify the cruelest policy of the Trump administration may be a fool’s errand, but the new border policy unveiled yesterday in a speech by Attorney General Jeff Sessions has quickly moved to the head of the pack.
Until now, people apprehended while crossing the border without legal documentation have been routinely bused back to Mexico so long as they have no criminal records. Under the new policy, everyone apprehended will be placed in already jam-packed detention facilities and have their cases heard—eventually—by over-burdened immigration courts, which already stagger under a backload of cases it will take years to hear and decide.
And that’s not even the half of it. As the Los Angeles Times reported, “Sessions also said that families who illegally cross the border may be separated after their arrest, with children sent to juvenile shelters while their parents are sent to adult detention facilities. Until now, border agents tried to keep parents and their children at the same detention site.”
Call it Trump’s “Suffer Little Children” initiative.
Which makes the point of the new policy unmistakably clear. It’s not to boost the income of private immigration prisons or make a mockery of the immigration courts. It’s to punish everyone who comes to America by crossing its southern border without papers, to make them languish indefinitely in those detention facilities until the courts, probably after a number of years, hear their cases. It’s to take children from their parents and keep them in different detention facilities for indefinite time periods as well. And by so doing, it intends to stop border crossings altogether—overlooking the fact that most border crossers are generally desperate or they wouldn’t be there in the first place.
So now, taking small children from their parents is official administration policy. A judge will soon rule in a case brought by the ACLU to stop this practice. If there’s a higher judge, He or She or It has surely already ruled on it. ~ HAROLD MEYERSON