And it’s awful.
If you want to punish people for crossing the border illegally, fine, whatever. But that is not an acceptable reason to separate a child from their parent. Children don’t control whether their parents bring them across the border and it’s not ok to put them through additional trauma because of it.
My understanding is that on May 7 Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Justice Department would begin attempting to prosecute every person who crossed the Southwest border illegally, and such prosecution entails separation. And we’ll do this even if the adults are seeking asylum.
Jeff Sessions said, “If you’re smuggling a child, then we’re going to prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you, probably, as required by law. If you don’t want your child separated, then don’t bring them across the border illegally. It’s not our fault that somebody does that.”
Someone should tell him it’s also not the fault of the child.
At one point White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said, “The children will be taken care of—put into foster care or whatever.” Which is, of course, ridiculous. In this situation it isn’t difficult to avoid creating orphans.
Addendum added a few hours after posting this: I said “If you want to punish people for crossing the border illegally, fine, whatever.” To clarify, my intent wasn’t to sound anti-immigrant here. My intent was to be dramatic and stay focused on separating children from their parents. But I also feel that we’re not meeting our obligation to assist those seeking asylum, and in general I feel like we spend too much effort trying to reduce non-asylum-related immigration.