Saturday, June 15, 2024

Trump sees the missing children as an opportunity to push his agenda

As controversy grows over his administration’s treatment of children separated from undocumented immigrant parents, Trump is seeking a political opening to damage his opponents and solidify his own support.

Trump chose to wage his latest political battle over his administration’s policy of separating children from parents caught crossing the border. The controversy over the policy coincides with separate revelations that his administration lost track of nearly 1,500 children taken from parents awaiting adjudication of immigration cases and placed in foster homes or with sponsors.

The government’s inability to find those children is an ill omen for thousands more who could be funneled to a similar fate under the Trump administration’s enforcement drive. On Sunday, Trump added fuel to the fire by blaming Democrats; “Put pressure on the Democrats to end the horrible law that separates children from there (sic) parents once they cross the Border into the US,” Trump tweeted.

Earlier this month, the president stated that breaking up families was necessary; “we have to break up families… the Democrats gave us that law. It’s a horrible thing, we have to break up families.” However, there is no law requiring the government to separate kids of undocumented migrants or asylum seekers from their parents — least of all one passed by Democrats.

The administration has made no secret of the fact that it hopes the likelihood that families will be broken up will deter undocumented migration. Both Attorney General Jeff Sessions and White House chief of staff John Kelly have made similar statements about the policy and how the administration is going to enforce it.

Trump, is not the only political figure who believes he can steer the immigration debate to his own advantage. Texas Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro is organizing a #WhereAreTheChildren rally in San Antonio on Thursday that is likely to be only one of many Democratic efforts to appeal to their own base following Trump’s assault.

“When I think about the 1500 lost children and those who are systematically separated from their mothers at the border, I come back to the same thought: If we can’t stop this in America we won’t stop it anywhere,” Castro tweeted on Sunday.