Hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered across the country last weekend in reaction to President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which has separated more than 2,000 children from their parents at the U.S.- Mexican border in just a few weeks.
From New York to California to Wyoming to Connecticut, protesters gathered. According to published reports, the demonstrations were nonviolent, in the best tradition of the civil rights protests of the 1960s. Some people carried signs reading, “No more children in cages,” or “What’s next? Concentration Camps?” Some demanded that ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) be abolished.
No one really expects that to happen. And while those who protest the draconian actions of this Administration have been accused of wanting “open borders,” it’s clear that we have both the right and the need to control our frontier. Many of the marchers were simply making the entirely reasonable demand that the government promptly reunite the families that have been divided.
Fortunately, President Trump has backed off on the inhumane policy of tearing toddlers from their mothers’ arms and shipping them off to far-flung facilities.
But we have next to no information about how many families have so far been reunited; or when and how that will happen; or how many parents still have no idea where their children are.
We would remind the president that the Constitution applies to all persons on our shores, not just to U.S. citizens; that inflicting such punishments without due process of law takes us even farther into the dark side; and that a deliberate policy that calls for and results in the emotional torture of children is the antithesis of what most Americans believe this country stands for.
The president has characterized the people who illegally cross our southern border as evil and dangerous, as gangsters and rapists. But surely the federal government, with its enormous resources, can find a way of weeding out the evildoers without traumatizing innocent children, and their parents, by the thousands.