By Janet Ellen June 21, 2018
NEW YORK (TURKISH JOURNAL) – International outcry and a widespread backlash led to Wednesday’s signing of an executive order by U.S. President Donald Trump that is supposed to keep immigrant families together while their cases are being examined. But the White House administration’s credibility has taken a nosedive domestically and internationally since Trump’s ‘zero tolerance policy’ went into effect.
Everyone from late night TV host Jimmy Kimmel, five former first ladies, former President Barack Obama – not to mention a host of international leaders, news anchors, American citizens and celebrities including the president’s wife Melania – all urged the Trump administration to end what Doctors Without Borders and human rights organizations have deemed “a humanitarian crisis.”
Trump and his Republican contingent insisted that separating families is based on “the law” when it has been repeatedly pointed out by prominent politicians that the policy of separating families was never a law. Another very crucial point made by the vast majority of dissenting voices is that requesting asylum is not a crime and that “criminalizing asylum seekers is un-American.” Most asylum seekers who approach the border are fleeing extreme gang violence and poverty in their own countries. It is also a fact that the majority of law abiding Americans find the Trump administration’s ‘zero tolerance policy” appalling as well as cruel.
As for Trump’s penchant to blame Democrats for the very grave and horrific mess he and his administration signed into law – one simply must defer to Wednesday’s meeting of House Democrats aired by C-SPAN. This was an extraordinary session where all House Democrats spoke out with impassioned pleas to end the separation of families – a number of whom said they had witnessed “children in cages,” “children torn from the arms of their parents” and those supervising these detention centers, being ordered “not to hug the children.”
The overall consensus by all in attendance was that what President Trump has promoted as a ‘zero tolerance policy’ is “unconscionable” and “inhumane.” Representative Gutierrez, a Democrat for the state of Illinois, spoke passionately about the tragic consequences that the administration’s actions have had on innocent children and their families.
All House Democrats condemned Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border policy as “cruel,” “inhumane,” and “government- sanctioned child abuse.”
A number of Democrats spoke in outrage at what they witnessed at the border: “children in cages” – “babies removed from their mothers when they were breastfeeding” and the audio played of “children’s heartbreaking crying” – “children torn from their parent’s arms.”
The question that was posed by a number of House Democratic Representatives was “Where is the soul of America?” It is common knowledge that America is a nation of immigrants and it is immigrants who made America successful, in the first place.
Representative Kathy Castor, a Democrat for Florida who said she received numerous calls from Floridians opposed to the president’s ‘zero tolerance policy’- reminded everyone that “Under past presidents, it was always legal to request asylum. Trump is trying to send a message to the world that we are an anti-immigrant country.”
Meanwhile, Representative Suzanne Bonnano said: “Babies don’t need their own jail, they need their own parents.” Representative Michelle Grisham said very poignantly: “Families fleeing violence have a right to petition for asylum, this is the law of the land.” She added, that if the president refused to remedy this “inhumane” situation that “Congress must act.”
The issue remains that even though Trump signed an executive order that families won’t be separated from now on – there is still the troubling fact that at least 2,300 immigrant children are still separated from their parents. As yet, no provisions have been made to reunite them. What’s even more troubling is that to the world, from the outside looking in, it appears that the administration in the White House is simply making decisions on a whim with no forethought to long-term consequences and with no sense of compassion.
There should be no doubt that Democrats are not the ones to blame for a crisis manufactured by the current Republican administration. It was more than evident in the very emotional and outraged voices of House Democrats who echoed the following sentiments: “What is this country coming to?” “It is about the President of the United States who has chosen to take this country to the very bottom.” “Let’s celebrate that Americans stood up against this cruelty.”