From border crisis to blatant lawlessness

June 24, 2018

The images were heart wrenching. Dozens upon dozens of children warehoused behind chain link fencing. Covered in foil blankets with nothing but a thin green mat between their fragile bodies and the cold hard concrete floor. Artificial daylight from banks upon banks of fluorescent light glaring down 24 hours a day, seven days a week to ensure guards could see all. Portable toilets lined up along one side, silent sentinels to what should not be.

What made it worse, was that the pictures did not come from a United Nations refugee camp halfway around the world, but right here on American soil. A sign for some of just how far we had fallen from the “give me your tired, your poor,….” of Statue of Liberty fame.

And as cable news exploded last weekend with all the political calculations and orchestrated outrage that comes with a crisis of such proportion, it was those images that were seared into my mind.

Except the images I describe were not taken last week in McAllen Texas. They were taken by Ross D. Franklin of Getty Images in 2014 during the height of the unaccompanied minors crisis during the Obama years.

Speaking Thursday on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, former Homeland Security Secretary in the Obama administration Jeh Johnson put the current crisis in perspective:

So in 2014, to deal with the spike then, to deal with the spike then, with the families, we did a number of things, including by the way working with the government of Mexico and obtaining their cooperation on securing their southern border, but we also expanded family detention. Which was I freely admit controversial…….We got a lot of heat for it. But there were just 95 beds out of a total of 34000 equipped to handle families. We expanded that capability I will freely admit that I made a big deal out of it so that people could see what we were doing, that it was not capture and release, not catch and release……”

Yes, you read that correctly, the Obama administration also detained families and it also made a point of making it known they were doing so in hopes of deterring others from making the dangerous trip North out of Central America.

While it is true that President Trump’s “zero tolerance” decision exacerbated the issue, it was hardly the first time an administration has gone to drastic measures to try to stop an already bad situation from getting worse.

But what has transpired over the past week by more than a few virtue signalers scrambling for their fifteen minutes during this crisis is as bad, or perhaps even worse than the short term crisis at our southern border.

From former CIA director Michael Hayden tweeting a picture of the Auschwitz concentration camp with the caption “Other governments have separated mothers and children” to MSNBC Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough cracking about children being “marched away to showers” the references to Nazi Germany have been many and often.

It’s as cynical, as manipulative, as pathetic and void of any reason as it gets. And it’s dangerous.

How many times have we heard over the past three years from the beltway “experts” and cable news pundits of the danger of Donald Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric and how it was only a matter of time before it got someone killed?

If comparing our Border Patrol agents to Nazis, and implying that the United States Government is operating concentration camps for children isn’t inflammatory then I need a new dictionary.

I disagreed with virtually every policy decision the Obama administration ever made, but watching Mr. Johnson talk about their crisis with reason and context in the midst of the political hurricane blowing today was refreshing to say the least.

So when President Trump issued his Executive Order halting family separation in hopes of a legislative fix I was, for a moment, hopeful.

That moment disappeared within hours when Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer declared that there would be no working with Republicans on legislation. Even worse, Senator Dianne Feinstein has a bill that would prohibit the arrest of any illegal alien adult in the company of a minor within 100 miles of the border.

If you think the crisis is bad now, just let the word get out that all you have to do is grab a kid and get across the border and you can’t even be arrested.

Not that long ago, such lunacy would be called out for what it is, absolute lunacy. But as of this writing, it has the support of every single Senate Democrat.

And with that, I bid you adieu, lunacy and all.

Publisher Note:  A version of this column first appeared in the June 24, 2018 print edition of the Joplin Globe.

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