As if things weren’t bad enough, yesterday Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly actually said in real life that he’s considering splitting children from their parents if they arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border without authorization. Um, what? Say what? Repeat that for me again.
On CNN’s “The Situation Room,” Kelly actually said he would “do almost anything to deter people,” and he wasn’t lying:
“I would do almost anything to deter the people from Central America to getting on this very, very dangerous network that brings them up through Mexico into the United States.”
Of course, it’s no secret that the U.S. has struggled with this problem–dealing with a significant number of mothers and children coming to the U.S. for asylum from Central America without authorization for years–but separating them is entirely inhumane. That doesn’t seem like it actually solves the problem, it’s only separating moms from their kids, who are probably terrified to begin with. Only last month, Kelly announced that the administration deport, or criminally prosecute, parents who pay to have their children smuggled into the U.S., so none of them comes as a true shock.
DHS also issued the statement to the press, saying removing children from their parents would prevent unauthorized immigration:
“The journey north is a dangerous one with too many situations where children — brought by parents, relatives or smugglers — are often exploited abused or may even lose their lives. With safety in mind, the Department of Homeland Security continually explores options that may discourage those from even beginning the journey.”
It’s important note that while Former President Barack Obama did also detain mothers and children, it seems the Trump administration is taking it a step further, forcibly removing the latter from their parents’ care.
DHS Secretary says he’s considering separating immigrant children from their parents to deter illegal immigration https://t.co/VI7iRONztC
— The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) March 6, 2017
It’s not untrue that the journey to the U.S. from Central America is dangerous–as Kelly pointed out–citing the fact that many women and girls are raped during the expedition. However, this reality makes Kelly’s remarks even more confusing, considering the new executive order on travel that Trump signed Monday.
So, what does the new executive order on travel that Trump signed actually say? According to CNN, it blocks refugee resettlement for 120 days beginning March 16. This includes a temporary four-month shutdown of the Central American Minors program, which was a program allowing parents already legally in the U.S. a pathway to reunite with their children remaining in their former countries, by bringing them safely to the U.S..
Of course, not everyone agrees with Kelly’s beliefs and tactics. For instance, John Rodriguez, a San Diego-based immigration attorney, told the Daily News that separating parents and children is “torture,” saying:
“To physically remove a child and a mother is like waterboarding someone — it’s torture. It’s clearly inhumane, and it just lacks the compassion in the law that has always been there.”
Personally, I can’t disagree. There has to be better, safer, and more humane ways to deal with this.