Trump’s administration policy of separating undocumented immigrant children from their parents and placing them in cages continue to cause outrage across the country.
President continues to falsely blame Democrats for these actions, refusing to acknowledge his party’s responsibility.
Separations have been causing a negative reaction even in his own camp. First lady Melanie Trump, various party officials and religious leaders have been commenting on the morality of the policy and calling POTUS to change it. Instead, he decided to use the public outcry to shift the blame to Democrats.
“The Democrats should get together with their Republican counterparts and work something out on Border Security & Safety. Don’t wait until after the election because you are going to lose!” Trump tweeted.
With midterms looming, the growing dissatisfaction with administration’s stance may very well be a tipping point. Democrats are using every chance to say that the policy is both cruel and un-American. Some senior GOP members agree with them, including former First Lady, Laura Bush.
“This zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart. Our government should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores or making plans to place them in tent cities in the desert outside of El Paso,” she wrote. “These images are eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history.”
Current First Lady seems to share her sentiment, although she takes care to sugar coat it.
“Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform,” said her communications director Stephanie Grisham.
Religious leaders, including Franklin Graham, a very important Trump ally, and Cardinal Timothy Dolan have questioned the morality of the policy.
Tough stance on illegal immigration has been Trump’s main selling point and one of the campaign promises that paved his way to the White House. This, paired with increased media scrutiny and liberal outrage, could make it impossible for him to reverse the policy. The question remains whether this highly emotional issue can force his voters to ease up on their demand for stricter border control and allow their representatives to reform the immigration system. The debate on this topic has been scheduled for next week in Congress, and a meeting between POTUS and senior GOP House leaders has been arranged ahead of it. Together with the overhaul of the immigration, the funding for the Trump’s wall is also on the table. In the meantime, the controversy continues to deepen.
Senate candidate and Texas Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke led a march on one of the facilities where children separated from their parents are being held.
“I’d like to say it’s un-American, but it’s happening right now in America. And it is on all of us, not just the Trump administration. This is on all of us,” he said.
Even members of the administration have shown discomfort with the separations. Trump’s counselor Kellyanne Conway stated that nobody likes the policy. Others, however, have been digging their heels in defense of the president and his decision.
Steve Bannon, Trump’s former political adviser, made a case for separations.
“It’s zero tolerance. I don’t think you have to justify it. We have a crisis on the southern border,” he said for ABC.
He also added that any softening of the stance could enrage GOP base and cause them to lose up to 50 seats in midterms.
There are several propositions that would settle the issue in Congress. The main issue, although, is that under current policy, all illegal immigrants are prosecuted under criminal law, making the separations mandatory. Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader, has stated that Trump could reverse this decision with a snap of the finger. In the absence of President snap, the House may be forced to tackle the issue themselves, something GOP isn’t thrilled to do. Toughening the stance widens the gap between them and minority voters but softening it up puts them at odds with their hard-right base and opens them up for critics from conservatives. The only way they would agree to this if Trump himself heavily endorses the bill, which would shield them from the fallout.
The Senate so far has been largely silent on the issue, but a new bill and increased pressure from the White House may force a debate there as well.