One of my biggest worries about Donald Trump being elected wasn’t so much what he would do as president (though that has shown to be a very valid concern with each passing day), but what he wouldn’t do: that he would sleep in and watch TV while terrible things happened to the country and people he put in positions of power would abuse that power recklessly.
While Trump spends 60% of his day in uncharted “executive time,” horrific crimes against humanity are being committed with meager coverage from the “unfair media.” One is the administration’s appalling response to Hurricane Maria, where 3,057 American citizens were left to die. The other is his reprehensible border policy, which goes far beyond his deranged demand for a wall. Yes, the administration encouraged separating parents from their children at the border and no, they weren’t “just obeying orders” from some previous administration.
Despite Judge Dana Sabraw ordering an end to family separation last summer, reports of what is happening at the southern border get more draconian by the day. As per a report from the Texas Civil Rights Project, Customs and Border Protection agents are now deciding the fate of young asylum seekers on their own terms. One father was accused of being a gang member with no evidence, another was accused of forging his daughter’s birth certificate. Despite DNA testing that proved she was his daughter, they were separated for a month.
Sabraw ruled that families may be separated if the parent is deemed a danger to their child. As there are no judges or child welfare specialists involved, the decision is up to the agency alone – something that agents have clearly chosen to exploit. Donald Trump and Stephen Miller may be proud avatars of white nationalism, but they’re hardly the only ones to blame, as we see children die in American custody and bigger detention centers being built. There could be any number of dangerous bigots infiltrating the ranks of CBP and ICE – emboldened by the administration’s hateful rhetoric.
The American Civil Liberties Union has plans to address this abuse in their lawsuit to reunite families. Meanwhile, we are long overdue for an intensive congressional investigation into the leadership of CBP and ICE. Then, the conversation needs to open to better means of providing legal counsel to asylum seekers. For these agencies to say they don’t have the resources to track down all of the children whose lives they ruined is simply not an excuse.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making