Rantt Rundown: Immigrant Children’s Cries Drown Out The Trump Admin’s Lies

Day 515 of the Trump presidency

Immigrant children crying out for their parents at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility (Audio via ProPublica)

Immigrant children crying out for their parents at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility (Audio via ProPublica)

At what point do we start calling this administration a regime?

President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy has indisputably proven to the world that his administration has zero decency.

With their systematic separation of immigrant children from their parents at the southern border, the Trump administration has proudly created a humanitarian crisis on American soil. Children are being held in cages (sometimes 20 per cage) and used in a hostage-like manner, all in President Trump’s scheme to leverage funding for his border wall and other hardline immigration proposals. Day-after-day, this administration is committing what the United Nations has deemed illegal human rights abuses on innocent children. And today, we heard a glimpse of what this inhumane abuse sounds like.

You can hear the pain. You can hear the trauma these kids are experiencing that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives. And they’ll always associate that pain with the United States of America.

In a press conference today, as the country listened to this audio, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defended this policy with misleading statistics after the previous day claiming it didn’t exist. She then falsely put the onus on Democrats to change it.

Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) called for Nielsen’s resignation.

This inhumane policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the border (who are systematically prosecuted) is a Trump administration policy, not a Democratic law. The prosecution of all undocumented immigrants at the southern border is creating this systematic family separation. The President could end this right now, but instead, he is lying about who is responsible for it.

On May 7, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued an order, which DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen implemented, that requires all undocumented immigrants crossing the border be referred for criminal prosecution…including migrants seeking asylum from violence.

The move would also mean that even if immigrants caught at the border illegally have valid asylum claims, they could still end up with federal criminal convictions on their record regardless of whether a judge eventually finds they have a right to live and stay in the US.

Chief of Staff John Kelly (when he was head of the DHS) even touted this future proposal as a deterrent.

And Sessions did so again…today.

More than 700 children had already reportedly been separated from their parents at the border between October 2017 and mid-April, before Sessions announced the policy. After it was announced, this picked up speed.

According to Department of Homeland Security numbers obtained by the Associated Press, it appears there have been at least 2,000 additional children since then, between mid-April and the end of May. That’s at a rate of 46 children taken a day.

The U.S. is reportedly running out of room to house the children who are being separated from their parents at the border, and they are being placed into holding cells that don’t have adequate medical resources. They’re supposed to only be in there for up to 72 hours but hundreds are being detained for longer in these caged facilities.

The overstays at border stations are a result of a backlog at U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS), the agency responsible for sheltering migrant children longer term and matching them with relatives or foster parents in the U.S. The agency’s Administration for Children and Families has 11,200 unaccompanied children in its care and takes 45 days on average to place a child with a sponsor, according to a spokesperson.

And MSNBC’s Jacob Soboroff gave us some of the first glimpses into where some of the children who leave the initial holding sells are placed once they make it to a shelter. It’s complete with an eerie mural of President Trump.

There are reports of children as young as 53 weeks old being taken. There’s a Washington Post story detailing a Honduran father killing himself after his child was taken from him. Once the kids are placed with sponsors, they are sometimes moved to different states, leaving the parents in the dark about their whereabouts. And some children are not being reunited with their parents once they’re deported.

Leaders past and present spoke out against this inhumanity.

Polling indicated the American people are disgusted by this.

States pushed back.

Republican lawmakers began to feel the heat.

But they still have not backed Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein’s bill that would end it.

In spite of the overwhelming backlash to this, the Trump administration doesn’t appear to be backing down…which could be to their detriment.

This policy doesn’t exist in a vacuum; it comes from a President who has made the dehumanization of Latino immigrants central to his political platform. Last month, President Trump said of unaccompanied minors who are crossing the border: “They look so innocent. They’re not innocent.” Trump said this in spite of the fact that only 56 out of 250,000 unaccompanied minors apprehended by border patrol were suspected or confirmed to have gang ties.

Also last month, President Trump once again conflated MS-13 with Latino immigrants, calling them “animals.” This fear-mongering rhetoric goes back years. But as we can see, this dehumanization has moved far beyond rhetoric and has gone even further than the inhumane ICE raids we’ve seen.

American history is peppered with moments that test the moral core of our collective humanity. Moments where there is a clear distinction between right and wrong. Moments that present stark choices between decency and depravity. Human rights and oppression. Truth and deceit.

You, reading this right now, are living through one of those moments in history.

What will you do? I have an idea.

Meanwhile…

A decades-long effort to keep politicians from drawing district lines that entrench themselves and their parties in power faltered Monday at the Supreme Court, as justices sidestepped the question of when extreme partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional.

In considering a Republican-drawn map from Wisconsin and a Democratic effort in Maryland, the court had raised the possibility of producing a landmark change in the way the nation’s elections are conducted.

Donald Trump directed the US Trade Representative to prepare new tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports Monday as the two nations moved closer to a potential trade war.

The tariffs, which Trump wants set at a 10% rate, would be the latest round of punitive measures in an escalating dispute over the large trade imbalance between the two countries. Trump recently ordered tariffs on $50bn in Chinese goods in retaliation for intellectual properly theft. The tariffs were quickly matched by China on US exports.

President Donald Trump directed the Department of Defense and the Pentagon to establish a Space Force as the sixth branch of the Armed Forces in a meeting with the National Space Council today.

“We are going to have the Air Force and we’re going to have the Space Force, separate but equal. It is going to be something so important,” President Trump said. “Separate but equal” is an appalling turn of phrase given that it’s derived from Plessy v. Ferguson, the now-overturned Supreme Court precedent for segregation.

FBI Director Christopher Wray stood by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, as Republicans asserted that the investigation he’s leading into Russian election meddling was tainted by anti-Trump bias from the start.

“I do not believe Special Counsel Mueller is on a witch hunt,” Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday, repeating his formulation before the same panel almost a year ago, as the politically riven committee reviewed a 500-page report issued last week by the Justice Department’s inspector general.

  • President Trump looks to make good on a promise…

Rundown // Donald Trump / Human Rights / Immigration