To the Editor:
Recently, President Donald Trump’s
zero-tolerance immigration policy was shown for what it is: a cruel and malicious policy meant to gain him an advantage in negotiations. Trump’s policy causes many of us to recoil in shame.
For the misdemeanor of illegally entering the U.S., Trump’s policy has resulted in rending children from parents. While many of us empathize with the parents and children, it is not a comfortably abstract “they” who enforce this vile policy, it is an uncomfortably concrete “we.” Our government, after all, is a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”
Only “we the people” have the power to change Trump’s policy, a policy incoherently and unconstitutionally defended by the Trump administration. Jeff Sessions invokes Romans 13. Sarah Sanders said that “it is very biblical to enforce the law.” Trump lies.
Doesn’t Sessions realize he cannot use the Bible to justify a government policy, or does he, like Trump, hold the Constitution in contempt? Sessions’ use of Romans 13 reveals his shocking ahistoricity. To justify enslaving people, apologists for American slavery used Romans 13; white South Africans used it to justify apartheid; Germans used it to justify Adolf Hitler’s Nazi policies; and now, Trump uses it to justify his unconscionable policy of forcibly separating children and parents.
From the right, we hear that the separations aren’t that bad. Brian Kilmeade of Fox and Friends said, “These aren’t our kids;” Ann Coulter said, “These child actors weeping and crying on all the other networks 24/7 right now, do not fall for it, Mr. President;”
82 percent of self-identified Republicans and U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, blame the parents, with Kinzinger saying he is “not supportive of parents putting their children in danger by illegally crossing the border.”
Trump and other GOP members dehumanize immigrants as “pests” that we must stop from overrunning our country with “crime, drugs, human trafficking, poverty and misery;” many immigrants are trying to escape from “crime, drugs, human trafficking, poverty and misery.” Why else would parents knowingly put “their children in danger by illegally crossing the border?”
Perhaps, for them, the danger from which they are escaping is even worse.
Secure borders are necessary, but securing our borders does not require us to act with malice and cruelty, features of Trump’s policy.
Secure our borders, but let our actions be guided “by the better angels of our nature.”
Michael Van Buer