Commentary: In a tweet last week, President Donald Trump called on Democrats in Congress to reverse the immigration policy implemented by his attorney general.
“Put pressure on the Democrats to end the horrible law that separates children from there (sic) parents once they cross the Border into the U.S,” he tweeted.
It seemed like a strange request. If Trump doesn’t like the policy, why doesn’t he just instruct Jeff Sessions to change it?
Sessions announced the new policy last month.
“If you are smuggling a child then we will prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you as required by law,” he warned.
The attorney general and his supporters defend the policy as a necessary deterrent to those coming to our country seeking asylum.
Trump’s Chief of Staff John Kelly assured that “the children will be taken care of – put into foster care or whatever.”
Even as his cabinet members were defending the policy, Trump was calling on Democrats to change it. And so, a group in the Senate, including Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, have taken him up on his offer.
They are sponsoring the Humane Enforcement and Legal Protections for Separated Children Act to protect the safety of children in the immigration enforcement process.
The bill would allow parents to make calls to arrange for the care of their children and ensure that children can call and visit their parents while they are detained; allow parents to participate in court proceedings affecting their children; protect children from being compelled to serve as translators for their parents in immigration enforcement actions; allow parents to say goodbye to their children before being taken into custody and require that the best interests of the children be considered in detention, release and transfer decisions involving their parents.
Trump seems to understand that he has gone too far this time. People who may agree with him on the need to protect American jobs or limit the drain on social services don’t want to see families ripped apart in the process.
If Trump agrees with his attorney general and cabinet members, that family separation is a harsh but necessary means of defending our border, then he should say so.
If he disagrees with that, he should support the Democrats’ bill. Or, just have a discussion with his attorney general.
One final note. A few weeks ago in this column I complained about the state’s inability to adjudicate complaints regarding alleged campaign violations. It now seems clear that voters will go to the polls June 5 without knowing whether PRC candidates Sandy Jones or Steve Fischmann have violated the law, as both allege the other has done.
There’s not a lot of investigation needed here. Neither is denying having accepted the donations. The only question is if they were allowed under the law. That seems like something that should be knowable.
The Secretary of State has handed all complaints off to the Attorney General. The Attorney General’s Office said it will “provide public updates as soon as they become available.”
In other words, voters are on their own.