Call Them What They Are: HostagesCall Them What They Are: Hostages
Published June 18, 2018 / Updated August 7, 2020

Call Them What They Are: Hostages

The GOP’s use of immigrant children to force funding for the wall is shameful

by Chris Thomas


Photo by Anurag Arora

The images out of the US children’s detention centers are shocking to say the least. 250 migrant children flow into the centers per day and, while Trump apologists object to the use of the use of the term “cages,” these kids — as many as 30,000 of them by August — are being held in facilities that look like this.

Image via Jacob Soboroff

While the Trump administration has tried to blame Democrats for the “zero tolerance” policy which has ripped thousands of children from the arms of their parents, remarks from Attorney General Jeff Sessions make the policy and its objectives crystal clear:

President Trump has said this cannot continue. We do not want to separate parents from their children. If we build the wall… we won’t face these terrible choices.

The good news is that while Trump and Sessions may consider the well-being of thousands of immigrant children little more than a bargaining chip for their precious wall, many others in the Republican Party disagree. Both Jeb and Laura Bush have spoken out against the policy, adding their voices to those of Senators Lindsey Graham, Ben Sasse, Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, and James Lankford.

The responsibility for this policy and its consequences rests with the President; he can stop it with the stroke of a pen, with or without Congressional action. Certainly, talk from these Senators is cheap but their open dissent against the Trump administration here matters. Bipartisan criticism makes the plight of these migrant families difficult to dismiss.

The uproar over the Trump administration's child-snatching policy has already prompted Congressional action and several immigration bills are currently before Congress. Democratic bills generally call for more humane treatment of would-be immigrants; Republican bills stipulate the same but with funding obligations for the construction of a border wall. One example of a clean immigration bill is S.3036, the “Keep Families Together Act,” which currently enjoys the backing of the entire Democratic Senate caucus.

Tell Congress What You Think

The Trump administration has made no secret of the fact that it both wants a wall and would be willing to relent in its treatment of immigrant children in exchange for a funding commitment for the project. It’s up to Congress to decide if that kind of deal making is ethical and if they’re prepared to make it. It’s up to you to let your Representatives and Senators know what you think about the subject.

You can write to your Representatives and Senators by sending the word Resist to Resistbot on Facebook Messenger, Telegram, or as a Twitter direct message. If none of those work for you, Resistbot also supports old fashioned SMS: text RESIST to 50409 to get started. It takes 2 minutes to make a difference.

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