June 18, 2018


Has Trump Overestimated the Cruelty of His Own Supporters? (PAUL WALDMAN, JUNE 17, 2018, The American Prospect)

After a lengthy internal argument in which the utility and morality of separating children from their parents when they try to cross the border was debated by Trump administration officials, the hardliners won out. Now, instead of putting families into immigration detention (where they could stay together), the adults would be criminally prosecuted and their children removed from them.

The cruelty of this policy was its very rationale: The more horrifying the site of children being torn from their parents' arms, the more powerful a deterrent to illegal immigration it would provide. On May 7, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the new policy with evident pride. "Today, the Department of Homeland Security is partnering with us and will begin a new initiative that will result in referring 100 percent of illegal Southwest Border crossings to the Department of Justice for prosecution," he said. "If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law. If you don't like that, then don't smuggle children over our border."

Had things worked as planned, people in Mexico and Central America would have been aghast, but Americans would have found it right and proper. And in recent weeks, President Trump has been trying even harder than usual to dehumanize immigrants. "You wouldn't believe how bad these people are," he said at a recent White House roundtable. "These aren't people. These are animals." Facing criticism for the remark, Trump's spokespeople insisted he was only talking about the MS-13 gang, but Trump seemed to relish the controversy, saying to a crowd at one of his rallies, "They are not human beings. This is why we call the bloodthirsty MS-13 gang members exactly the name I used last week. What was the name?" To which the crowd shouted, "Animals!"

Perhaps that enthusiasm for dehumanizing language displayed by his most ardent supporters led Trump to believe that the family separation policy would be warmly embraced. But it wasn't, and faced with a steady stream of alarming news stories as well as condemnation from some unexpected quarters like conservative religious leaders, the president hit on a creative solution: Keep the policy, but claim that it's actually the Democrats' fault.

The folks who support the cruelty are indeed the ones blaming the UR.

Posted by at June 18, 2018 4:44 AM