Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Lawyer: Never in 40 years seen kids separated from parents The civil rights attorney who obtained an audio recording of children separated from their parents crying joins Chris Hayes to talk about how she got it and how asylum seekers are being turned away at the border.
New York mayor blasts Trump administration after touring facility for immigrant children - CNNPolitics
De Blasio, who toured Cayuga Centers in upper Manhattan before addressing the media, said more than 350 children affected by the Trump policy had already been placed in care by the facility. He questioned how this many children could come through just one facility without the city government being aware.
The children should be with their parents, he said.
"Stop this right now," de Blasio said. "Stop this broken, inhumane policy right now."
Some of the children who come to the center each day for classes and social services have bed bugs, lice, chicken pox and other contagious diseases, he said..."
New York mayor blasts Trump administration after touring facility for immigrant children - CNNPolitics
‘A blowtorch to the tinder’: Stoking racial tensions is a feature of Trump’s presidency - The Washington Post
"President Trump this week likened Hispanic immigrants to vermin. He warned that they would “pour into and infest our country.” And he defended his administration’s family separation policy by alleging that parents crossing the southern border with their children were poised to commit crime and murder.
For him, this language is not new.
Echoing the words and images of the white nationalist movement to dehumanize immigrants and inflame racial tensions has become a defining feature of Donald Trump’s presidency and of the Republican Party’s brand.
Trump has stirred supporters at rallies by reading “The Snake,” a parable about a tenderhearted woman who takes in an ailing snake but is later killed when the revived creature bites her. The song, he says, should be heard as a metaphor for immigration.
The president referred to some African nations as “shithole countries.” He posited that “both sides” were to blame for last summer’s deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville And, again and again, he has accused black football players who took a knee during the playing of the national anthem in protest of police discrimination of being un-American.
There are many ways in which Trump stands out in the lineup of modern American presidents, but one is his aversion to using his bully pulpit to unify the diverse nation he was elected to lead. Rather, Trump stokes cultural divisions and cultivates tribalism under the banner of his slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
President Trump speaks during a tour as he reviews border wall prototypes on March 13, 2018 in San Diego.
“He takes a blowtorch to the tinder,” said Peter Wehner, a Trump critic who worked in the previous three Republican administrations and is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
“For Trump and for his presidency, the culture war is central and defining — and it’s a culture war of a particular kind,” Wehner added. “It’s not the traditional culture war of gay rights and abortion. It’s a culture war that manifests itself in race and ethnicity and nationality. That is his go-to theme.”
Throughout his public life, Trump has pitted one group of Americans against another and inserted himself in racial controversies. In 1989, as a celebrity real estate developer, he took out advertisements in New York’s newspapers calling for the death penalty for five black and Latino teens who were wrongfully convicted of raping a white female jogger in Central Park. More recently, Trump perpetuated for five years the lie that Barack Obama was born outside the United States to delegitimize his presidency.
As he leads his party into the potentially perilous midterm elections five months from now, Trump is trying to make cultural identity a central theme of the Republican pitch to voters. The president’s messages have been amplified by his surrogates as well as by friendly broadcasters on Fox News Channel and elsewhere in the conservative media.
Trump is calculating that by playing to people’s fears and anxieties he can maximize turnout among hardcore supporters to counterbalance evident enthusiasm on the Democratic side. Fueling Trump’s approach, advisers say, is an unremitting fear of his own: that his base could abandon him if he is deemed too weak on immigration, which was a centerpiece of his 2016 campaign.
Trump’s defenders flatly reject the suggestion that he is intentionally exacerbating the nation’s cultural differences.
“Those who focus on culture and race as the perceived center of POTUS policies are either ignoring or ignorant of the root causes of the problems,” Trump campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson said in a text message.
Pierson, one of the few African Americans who works for Trump, said the president’s policies are “centered around law and order and prioritizing American families.” To conclude otherwise, she said, would be exhibiting “bias.”
“I think people are conditioned to see what they want (or are being told) to see in everything that he does, not what he is actually doing,” Pierson said.
Trump has said he recoils from the images, sounds and stories beaming in this week from the border. “I don’t want children taken away from parents,” he said in a Tuesday speech. Yet he otherwise was initially defiant in the face of the growing public outcry, only capitulating Wednesday after the objections had reached a fever pitch. Even then, he suggested to reporters that it was a difficult call to retreat on his policy of separating immigrant children from their parents.
“If you’re really, really pathetically weak, the country’s going to be overrun with millions of people. And if you’re strong, then you don’t have any heart. That’s a tough dilemma,” Trump said. “Perhaps I’d rather be strong. But that’s a tough dilemma.”
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), one of the party’s most hard-line voices on immigration, argued that Trump should be focusing more on culture in devising and articulating his policies.
“I don’t hear this president speaking much about race, [but] for me, there are cultural distinctions that matter,” King said. “Whenever you import large numbers of people from singular cultures, you import the culture, too. That’s why a movement towards assimilation in the broader American civilization is so important. That’s been pushed on the back burner and it should be on the front burner.”
GOP congressional leaders are plainly uncomfortable. Some of the most vulnerable House Republicans are running for reelection in swing districts where suburban voters who recoil from divisive rhetoric and policies could prove decisive.
By and large, however, they have not challenged Trump’s approach. Republicans who publicly object risk losing primary challenges, being ostracized or mocked by the president. Or they find safe harbor elsewhere, as strategist Steve Schmidt, who helmed George W. Bush and John McCain’s presidential campaigns, did in announcing Wednesday that he was renouncing his membership in the Republican Party.
Before Trump’s retreat Wednesday, his advisers and allies said the border situation is being covered hysterically in the media and that there would not be long-term consequences for the president or the party.
“On a near daily basis during the campaign, Republican operatives would spend their time freaking out about the controversy of the day,” said Andy Surabian, a former Trump campaign and White House official. “If you listened to them you would have thought the sky was perpetually falling. The lesson of the campaign is that in Trump’s Washington, things move so fast that no single story will ever define the president, the administration or the party as a whole.”
New polls this week have shown a stark divide over the administration’s family separation policy. A Quinnipiac University poll found that American voters overall oppose the policy, 66 percent to 27 percent, mirroring other surveys.
Quinnipiac found that Republican voters support the separation policy, 55 percent to 35 percent, and that the demographic group with the deepest support was whites without college degrees.
Peter Hart, a Democratic pollster, said that in focus groups he conducted this week in Pittsburgh, many voters expressed “a sense of violation” and that women, in particular, feel personal empathy for the immigrant families being separated.
“This is a very unsettling time for the American voter,” Hart said. “People are unnerved, unsettled and unhappy.”
Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster who has long advocated his party adopt a more inclusive posture to appeal to the nation’s diversifying electorate, warned that Trump’s strategy is risky.
“In a government of the people, by the people and for the people,” Ayres said, “it helps to have a majority of the people behind what you’re trying to do.”
‘A blowtorch to the tinder’: Stoking racial tensions is a feature of Trump’s presidency - The Washington Post
Fewer Births Than Deaths Among Whites in Majority of U.S. States - The New York Times. This is what Trump and his White supremacists followers fear and what motivates their fascist policies.
President Trump caved to enormous political pressure on Wednesday and signed an executive order that ends the separation of families by indefinitely detaining parents and children together at the border.
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
"WASHINGTON — The United States plans to withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council, two U.S. officials confirmed to NBC News on Tuesday. The announcement is expected to be made by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley at 5 p.m. this evening.
U.S. to withdraw from U.N. Human Rights Council
"“I hate the children being taken away. The Democrats have to change their law. That’s their law.”
The Pinocchio Test
The facts about Trump’s policy of separating families at the border - The Washington Post
Statement of APA President Regarding the Traumatic Effects of Separating Immigrant Families
"This was the lead paragraph of a New York Times report last week:
“The Trump administration said on Friday that it had separated 1,995 children from parents facing criminal prosecution for unlawfully crossing the border over a six-week period that ended last month, as President Trump sought to shift blame for the widely criticized practice that has become the signature policy of his aggressive immigration agenda.”
This may well be one of the most callous policies the Trump administration has instituted in its zeal to crack down on illegal immigration.
These are children!
On June 9, The Washington Post reported that “a Honduran father separated from his wife and child suffered a breakdown at a Texas jail and killed himself in a padded cell last month.”
According to The Post, when the man, 39-year-old Marco Antonio Muñoz, was told he would be separated from his wife and 3-year-old son, he “ ‘lost it,’ according to one agent.”
“ ‘The guy lost his s—-,’ the agent said. ‘They had to use physical force to take the child out of his hands.’ ”
The Post continued: “Muñoz was placed in a chain-link detention cell, but he began punching the metal and shaking it violently, agents said.”
At another point in the account, The Post reported:
“ ‘He yelled and kicked at the windows on the ride to the jail,’ an agent said. Shackled and handcuffed, Muñoz attempted to escape again upon arrival and once more had to be restrained. According to the sheriff’s department report, Muñoz was booked into the jail at 9:40 p.m. He remained combative and was placed in a padded isolation cell, it says.”
Muñoz would take his own life. A guard saw “ ‘a piece of clothing twisted around his neck which was tied to the drainage location in the center of the cell,’ according to the incident report filed by the sheriff’s department that morning.”
I can’t begin to imagine the incredible pain and anxiety parents like Muñoz and their children must feel. I can’t imagine being forcibly separated from my children for any reason.
And yet, this has become Trump’s policy of persecution. Attorney General Jeff Sessions even had the gall to invoke one of the same Bible verses used to justify slavery to justify the current policy.
Trump keeps lying about it, trying to distort reality and claim that the separations are a result of a “law” made by the Democrats.
As The Times reported on Saturday: “Mr. Trump has steadfastly tried to deflect blame for the separation of children from their parents, consistently dissembling about why it is occurring. His comments are the latest example of his asking the public to discount what it sees with its own eyes and instead believe his own self-serving version of reality. They also reflect how politically poisonous the issue has become, as photographs and news articles circulate about the effects of the practice.”
As The Times explained: “In fact, there is no law that requires families to be separated at the border. There is a law against ‘improper entry’ at the border, as well as a consent decree known as the Flores settlement that limits to 20 days the amount of time that migrant children may be held in immigration detention, which a federal judge ruled in 2016 also applies to families. A 2008 antitrafficking statute — signed into law by a Republican president, George W. Bush — also requires that certain unaccompanied alien minors be transferred out of immigration detention in 72 hours. None of those laws or precedents mean that children must be taken away from their parents.
“It is the Trump administration’s decision this year to prosecute all unlawful immigrants as criminals that has forced the breakup of families; the children are removed when the parents are taken into federal custody. While previous administrations have made exceptions to such prosecutions for adults traveling with their minor children, the Trump administration has said it will not do so.”
Trump is lying, as he often does. This barbaric policy is an outgrowth of his own personal cruelty. It’s absolutely reprehensible and an absolute reflection of him.
And, as the American Psychological Association put it:
“The administration’s policy of separating children from their families as they attempt to cross into the United States without documentation is not only needless and cruel, it threatens the mental and physical health of both the children and their caregivers. Psychological research shows that immigrants experience unique stressors related to the conditions that led them to flee their home countries in the first place. The longer that children and parents are separated, the greater the reported symptoms of anxiety and depression for the children. Negative outcomes for children include psychological distress, academic difficulties and disruptions in their development.”
I don’t have a long treatise to issue here, no meandering argument. I am simply outraged beyond my ability to articulate it.
This practice of family separation must end, and Trump and every other politician who was silent about it or worse, endorsed it, must be held to account at the ballot box.”\
Opinion | When Did Caging Kids Become the Art of the Deal? It always have been; look at Trump's 40 plus history of racists practicies and statements. - The New York Times
"Watching President Trump blame Democrats for his administration’s inhumane practice of snatching immigrant children from their parents at the border evokes nothing so much as an abusive husband blaming his wife for the beatings he delivers:
Why do you make me do this? I hate doing this! If you’d only be reasonable and listen to me, things wouldn’t have to be this way.
As anyone paying even minimal attention to politics knows, this immoral policy is not ‘the Democrats fault for being weak and ineffective with Boarder Security and Crime,’ to quote one randomly spelled and capitalized tweet out of three to that effect in a little over 12 hours. It’s not really Republicans’ fault, either — at least not yet. Both the Obama and George W. Bush administrations began efforts to curtail the flow of people across the southern border, but neither went so far as to pursue a ‘zero tolerance’ approach that tore apart families en masse. Congress has not passed any bills requiring the practice since then. This bit of nastiness belongs entirely to Mr. Trump — he has made a choice to torment undocumented families — and his attempt to pass the buck is dishonest and gutless. In other words, it’s what we’ve come to expect when Mr. Trump finds himself in an uncomfortable spot.
But the horror show at the border has gotten awkward for Mr. Trump. When the normally fawning Rev. Franklin Graham and other conservative religious leaders start publicly questioning this president’s inerrancy, you know Mr. Trump has really distinguished himself in his iniquity. Even the first lady felt moved to publicly distance herself from her husband’s cruelty, calling for a nation ‘that governs with heart.’ Things have gotten so radioactive that, at a Monday briefing, the homeland security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, found it easiest to fall back on incoherence, alternating between blaming Congress for the situation and denying that any such situation existed.
Perhaps recognizing the growing political hazard, the president is headed to Capitol Hill Tuesday evening to try to drag Republican House members deeper into his dumpster fire. Marc Short, his legislative affairs director, has said that the president will explain to Republican lawmakers the logic and ‘history’ behind the decision to split up families. ‘The policy is incredibly complicated, and it is one we need to do a better job of communicating,’ Mr. Short said. Right, that’s the root of the problem here: inelegant messaging.
Mr. Trump is also expected to inject himself into the conference’s already fraught debate over immigration legislation, voicing support for two proposals that the G.O.P. House will likely be voting on in the coming days.
The president’s preferred bill is a hard-line plan fathered by Representative Bob Goodlatte, the Virginia Republican and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. That bill would, among other steps, tighten asylum standards, slash legal immigration by 25 percent by ending both the diversity visa lottery and doing away with most family-based immigration, and consign Dreamers to permanent limbo by requiring them to re-up their status every three years. And, of course, the bill would fund The Wall. It all fits nicely with Mr. Trump’s tendency to talk about immigrants as though every one of them is an aspiring MS-13 foot soldier.
The president also has said — after some initial confusion on his part, according to the White House — that he’d be willing to sign the ‘compromise’ plan hammered out in large part by House leadership. The Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018, much like Mr. Goodlatte’s bill, would tighten asylum standards, kill the diversity visa and fund The Wall. It would be somewhat more flexible about family-based immigration and make provisions for some Dreamers to ultimately apply for green cards. It would deal with the current policy of splitting up families by allowing for children to be kept in ICE detention along with their parents. Jailing families together: This is what is considered progress in the current immigration climate.
Whatever the details, Mr. Trump will be using the Tuesday meeting as an opportunity for some additional arm-twisting. If Republican lawmakers have any sense of self-preservation, much less moral decency, they will refuse to engage with Mr. Trump over immigration while he is attempting such grotesque political blackmail. EDITORS’ PICKS
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How Boots Riley Infiltrated Hollywood For the president, this vile border mess has become a test to see how hard he can squeeze lawmakers. The White House has made clear that it regards immigrant children as useful levers to force Congress to pass legislation. With the midterms looming, Republican House members are desperate to look like they’re making progress on this issue. Mr. Trump (whose administration is planning a fresh wave of immigration crackdowns in the coming months) is betting that, with enough pressure, he can bend enough nervous moderates to pass a bill through the House on a party-line vote — and maybe, if he keeps hammering away at Democrats, even squeak it through the Senate.
In reality, by making the immigration topic even more radioactive, Mr. Trump has made a rational legislative debate much less likely. House Democrats would be nuts, politically and on policy grounds, to swallow either of the unpalatably conservative plans they are being offered. And even if a bill passes the lower chamber, the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, is unlikely to let his troops take a politically noxious vote during a high-stakes election cycle. No matter how much Mr. Trump beats his chest, it’s hard to see any proposal becoming law any time soon.
Lawmakers should not negotiate with the president until he puts a stop to this ‘zero tolerance’ insanity. Even if Republican members can’t be swayed by the immorality of the practice, they should look at this situation in terms of preserving their own power: If they let Mr. Trump roll them by using innocent children as hostages, he will learn the lesson that brutality is the key to getting what he wants.
Maintaining checks and balances can be tricky with any president, but that’s especially true when a commander in chief has authoritarian impulses. As made evident by his slavering over such brutal autocrats as Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un, Mr. Trump believes that effective leadership is all about crushing anyone who stands in your way, collateral damage be damned. If lawmakers aren’t willing to stand up to him in a case where justice and public sentiment are so clearly on their side, they might as well hand him the keys to the Capitol right now.