|Rob Rogers, former editorial cartoonist at the Pittsburgh Post Gacette|
If you have been following the news over the past week or so you are by now well familiar with the growing outcry against the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents who have crossed the US-Mexican border illegally. This goes hat in hand with the administration’s "zero tolerance" approach to illegal entry into the United States. Adults who do so - once charged only with a misdemeanor for a first time offense - are now being criminally prosecuted. Figures issued by the US Department of Homeland Security, which is responsible inter alia with border security, reports that almost 2,000 migrant children were separated from their families over six weeks between April 19 and May 31. And this number continues to grow with each passing day as more migrants arrive at the border.
DHS has refused to provide the American people with any details on the age of these children. Suffice it to say they are being classified as “unaccompanied minors” and therefore too young to be separated from their parents who brought them to the border and who are being charged with a crime and being detained in separate facilities.. Once they are processed by DHS, these children are transferred to Ben Carson’s US Department of Health and Human Services and incarcerated in US government detention facilities or assigned to foster care. I should remind my readers that it was Ben Carson, who as a candidate for president, called for the use of military drone strikes to seal the Mexican border.
Let all of this sink in. Think about it. US government agencies are separating children from parents; telling parents their children are being taken for baths and child care. Children are not being returned and parents are not told where they are. Instead they are concentrating and warehousing these children in camps and other detention facilities. The obvious comparison to the train platforms at Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps is more than unsettling and troubling. Americans of every stripe should rise up in disgust against this policy. It is shameful and it is downright wrong!
Thankfully some are speaking out. The United Nations has called on the US to immediately halt the separations. Yesterday the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned this US policy; “the thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable.” So this afternoon the United States announced that it is withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council, in part due to this condemnation of the “zero tolerance” policy. No doubt this is the work of the nefarious John Bolton, Trump’s new National Security Advisor. Former First Lady Laura Bush criticized this policy in an op-ed piece in yesterday’s Washington Post: “this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart . . . Our government should not be in the business of warehousing children . . . .” Finally: “We pride ourselves on acceptance. If we are truly that country, then it is our obligation to reunite these detained children with their parents — and to stop separating parents and children in the first place." Still, the Trump administration’s policy is supported by certain factions within the Republican Party while still others are expressing their misgiving and are uncomfortable with the tactics being enforced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Department of Justice. So why aren’t they doing anything about it beyond furrowing their brows and wringing their hands?
I am not the first, and I will certainly not be the last person to compare the Trump administration’s policy with that imposed by the Nazi’s in Germany. Sessions has been quick to contradict such a comparison, stating last night during a Fox News interview that this is “a real exaggeration” and reminding the interviewer and the audience: "In Nazi Germany, they would keep the Jews from leaving the country.” Such an ignorant statement is beyond contempt. CNN’s legal analyst Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor, perhaps said it best. "When you have to explain to people why your policies aren't exactly like Nazi Germany, it's time to rethink your policies."
Sessions has compounded his ignorance by quoting a verse from St Paul's Letter to the Romans on obeying the laws of government:
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves [Romans 13: 1-2].
He forgot to read on or ignored it intentionally.
Love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law [Romans 13: 9-10].
And perhaps Sessions and other in this administration, if they really want to derive justification for their policies from the Bible, might want to look back to the Old Testament:
When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God [Leviticus 19: 33-34].
There is no justification for this despicable policy. If these are not crimes against humanity I don’t know what are? We have tried and sent men and women to the gallows for such actions. We must speak out immediately and with loud voices and oppose what Trump is trying to do to America. First he demonized the Mexicans as rapists and murderers, and then Muslims as terrorists. Then he demonized the North Koreans (who now seem to be our new best friends). He is accusing our allies of cheating and stealing from America, all the while getting cozy with thug dictators far and wide. Now he is back casting dispersions on Mexicans and migrants from Central America which he claims are “infesting” America..
The price of silence? They came for the Jews. We said nothing. They came for the gays. We said nothing. They came for the Muslims. We said nothing. They came for the blacks. We said nothing. Then they came for us and there was no one left to say anything.
Don’t be silent! Speak out against Trump’s racist, nativist and xenophobic policies!