Should everyone hold off on being publicly proud of their kids until this AstroTurf Round of Righteous Indignation has blown over?
I ask because there have been two instances in the past week where high-profile Republicans have been taken to task by proud members of “The Resistance” for having the unmitigated gall of posting pictures with their children while there were children being separated from their parents at the border. Celebrutards Samantha Bee and John Legend hurled their epithets (respectively) at Ivanka Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan. This is the same line of thinking that insists we get chagrined for enjoying a meal with family on Thanksgiving when there are others in the world going hungry. My response to both is the same. F.O.
For the past three weeks, the Resistance has inundated social media with images of children being held in detention centers along the Mexican border. Their parents are accused of trying to enter the US illegally. That is a crime. Rich Lowry of National Review had a good summary this weekend.
When a migrant is prosecuted for illegal entry, he or she is taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals. In no circumstance anywhere in the U.S. do the marshals care for the children of people they take into custody. The child is taken into the custody of HHS, who cares for them at temporary shelters.
The criminal proceedings are exceptionally short, assuming there is no aggravating factor such as a prior illegal entity or another crime. The migrants generally plead guilty, and they are then sentenced to time served, typically all in the same day, although practices vary along the border. After this, they are returned to the custody of ICE.
If the adult then wants to go home, in keeping with the expedited order of removal that is issued as a matter of course, it’s relatively simple. The adult should be reunited quickly with his or her child, and the family returned home as a unit. In this scenario, there’s only a very brief separation.
Where it becomes much more of an issue is if the adult files an asylum claim. In that scenario, the adults are almost certainly going to be detained longer than the government is allowed to hold their children.
There is an important distinction that must be made here. Adults caught crossing *illegally* with children are being separated. Those who show up at a port of entry to seek asylum are not…unless there is some other legal issue at play involving the adult.
Remember that caravan of folks from Central America who crossed Mexico en masse last month to seek asylum in the US? They entered at a port of entry and are having their cases heard. No children were separated in those cases.
If we can soberly discuss facts and not emotions in this case we can launch effective debates on whether the policy is workable. Can these situations be ameliorated with new temporary detention centers for families? Is that a cost-effective solution? Should we send more personnel to ports of entry to expedite the Asylum process? Is it worth the money? Can we more effectively work with Mexico to get the word out that we need these people to come in at a port of entry and NOT at some God-forsaken section of the Rio Grande?
Unfortunately the modern socio-political landscape does not allow for such trenchant debate. It is entirely fueled by outrage and the potential for dunking on your opponent.
The narrative being pushed today is that Trump created this mess. This, despite the fact that the policy is being enforced thanks to a measure signed into law by former President Clinton in 1996. The juvenile detention centers were actually operational in 2014, under ex-President Obama. In fact, when the first trial balloons were floated for this narrative a month ago, The Resistance used pictures that were snapped in 2014, trying to convince us this was a brand new issue in the Age of Trump. Those stories written in 2014 were met by a wall of silence at the time of publication.
Want to get drunk quickly? Take a shot every time someone uses the verb “ripped” when decrying this situation. Do a quick Google News search on the phrase “ripped from their parent’s arms.” It’s almost as if they’re being fed the same script. It’s almost like they are trying to advance a “narrative.”
This leads me to believe that the concern we’ve been hearing about from the left has less to do with the morality of separating children from their parents and more to do with their main goal…scoring whatever “points” they can against a President they despise. Because of that, I am disinclined to listen to you or trust anything you say.
It may shock you to know that I do NOT enjoy seeing images of children being held while their parents’ cases are adjudicated. I’m not an ogre. There MUST be a better way. But tossing F-bombs at politicians who are posting pictures of their children, and comparing these detention centers with Dachau will retard the pace at which improvements can be made. Plus it will make you look formidably stupid and cause me to look at anything you say with a jaundiced eye.