End Family Separations Now

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

I’m new to politics, but one thing I’ve already learned is that if you’re a candidate or elected official, people will pressure you to take a stance on the issues they’re passionate about. Sometimes the issues are simple and don’t require a second thought, but sometimes they’re less clear-cut and require time to evaluate the arguments on both sides. A politician dedicated to rational leadership won’t be rushed into taking an ill-informed position on an issue that requires deeper examination.

The Trump Administration’s policy of separating migrant families at the border is not such an issue; family separation constitutes a clear crime against humanity, and must be stopped immediately.

Almost two years into an administration that doesn’t seem able to spare a passing thought for the casualties of its warped ideology, this new policy of family separation is a clear low. Donald Trump’s corrupt and destructive presidency has hurt the country and indeed the world in ways large and small, but while his previous failures have often done their damage in ways that aren’t immediately tangible—opening the floodgates on pollution of our air and water, legitimizing and encouraging racism—the policy of family separations is leaving a growing cohort of victims right now, and those victims are innocent children.

Despite Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen’s twitter-assurances that “We do not have a policy of separating families at the border,” we do. The Trump Administration has adopted a stance of “zero tolerance” for illegal immigration, meaning that when a family crosses the border illegally, the parents are prosecuted. During this process, their kids are taken away from them and detained, traumatizing these helpless children.

Thus, what we have seen in recent months is that the United States does, in fact, have a policy of separating families at the border.

In an era of deep divisions, this horrifying fact seems to have united the country, but it’s united us in shame: shame at seeing our government now guilty of the crimes we built our reputation fighting, and shame at seeing our leaders betray the values on which our nation was built.

There is no acceptable path forward but to end this sadistic policy immediately, acknowledge the lasting pain it has caused innocent children and their parents, and grant legal residency to all families so abused, to the greatest extent it is safe to do so.

To continue traumatizing these children by separating them from their parents would invite well-deserved prosecution in international forums, and bring lasting shame on the United States. It’s time for our leaders in Washington to show that they still have some integrity left.

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