What will probably be the darkest legacy of Donald Trump’s presidency, when historians look back, is probably the border detention facilities – his administration’s deliberate efforts to separate families and how unsettlingly close the administration came to using the Dept. of Homeland Security as their own personal police force, as the country backslid dangerously towards authoritarianism. Shortly after Joe Biden became president, the GOP and the media’s attention rapidly turned towards the border, expecting the new president to eliminate the dark stain of a complicated problem immediately.
Fortunately, President Biden has indeed acted in short order. Not only has the number of detainees been rapidly reduced over the last few months, along with the time they have to wait to be processed, the Biden administration has begun reuniting families deliberately separated over the past four years. Many people could argue why it’s taken so long – and a big part of the problem is that like with most things, the Biden administration has had to build its own database of names completely from scratch, since the DHS under Trump failed to keep adequate records of who they detained.
No matter how despicable this scandal sounded when it first broke out in 2018, it’s much worse and the people involved all deserve to be held accountable and kept from holding elected office ever again. Fortunately, in the coming days, we will begin to see a number of families be brought together again with many more to follow. We cannot undo the past, but we can move forward, and part of that is to denounce the xenophobia and populism that made this acceptable in the first place.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making