(A great conversation from Lauren O’Neill about why the fight over kids wasn’t finished with Trump’s ridiculous executive order against himself.)
1. The Trump administration may just continue blatantly lying about this policy. (Indivisible Ventura: We’re going to substitute this article for the rest of Lauren’s paragraph on government reaction here as it’s more comprehensive.)
2. This executive order might be illegal. The result of the Supreme Court case Reno v. Flores, was the establishment of rules that the government can’t keep “accompanied” minors (i.e., kids who came here with their families) for more than 20 days. Previously, under “Flores rules,”, if it took longer than 20 days to figure out the parents’ asylum cases, etc., the policy was to keep families together, release them after up to 20 days, and have them periodically check in with ICE (which 99% of them did). Because of Trump’s zero-tolerance policy, if adults “had to” be detained for longer than 20 days, so they “had to” take away their children. The new executive order would let families stay together, but that would mean the kids are held for more than 20 days, which could get struck down in court. Then Trump could claim, “Well, I tried to help the children, but the mean judges won’t let me, so we’re just gonna have to build 100 more child camps” or whatever.
3. The 2,300 children already separated from their families will not be reunited with them. First of all, the executive order makes no provision for those 2,300 children at all and the parents’ lawyers say they haven’t received the kind of paperwork that would let them start the process. According to no less an authority than the former head of ICE (!), it would be logistically impossible to reunite them all, even if the government were trying to—and it’s not trying to. This means some of these kids will be stuck in their current detention centers indefinitely. (it’s only supposed to be 20 days, but for this 14-month-old baby, it took 85 days). The American Academy of Pediatrics says this will permanently and severely damage their health, especially the hundreds of “tender age” children currently imprisoned, many of whom are so young they’re having to rely on other kids to change their diapers.
4. Without separation, child detention camps will now become family detention camps, and the human-rights abuses will continue. It is good that small children won’t be left alone in cages to fend for themselves. Currently, there’s no way the adult-to-child ratio in these child centers meets the legal standard, and leaked audio as well as firsthand reportsindicate there is constant crying, chaos, even suicide attempts in these detention centers. The unregulated tent city in the Texas heat, where minors are currently housed, vulnerable to heatstroke and dehydration, not to mention fire ants, black widows, scorpions, and disease-carrying mosquitoes, will now simply house both minors and their parents. During the Holocaust, many people were put in concentration camps with family members. They were still concentration camps.
5. Compromise is not currently a viable political strategy. It’s clear from this Trump tweet that part of his strategy with this executive order is to get Democrats to compromise. Essentially, Trump’s saying that if we give him all these racist policies (e.g., funding the wall, ending the visa lottery and other policies which he calls by names that only neo-Nazis use), he’ll end this one other racist policy (putting children in concentration camps). Obama repeatedly tried to compromise with Republicans on issue after issue, and they responded by obstructing him to the point of stealing his Supreme Court seat. This is especially true of immigration. Obama deported more people than any president before him as part of a compromise that was supposed to result in comprehensive immigration reform.
6. And now no one, either in DC or the border, knows what to do.