President Trump has offered the outlines of an immigration deal for more than a year – one so favorable to traditional Democratic priorities that his own base has threatened to abandon him over it.
The Washington Post reported Monday that the administration’s “move to separate immigrant families at the border and detain children apart from their parents spiraled into a humanitarian and political crisis” that has become “a moral test” for the president and his administration.
The president “continued to falsely blame congressional Democrats for what he decried as a ‘horrible and tough situation.’ But Trump is empowered to immediately order border agents to stop separating families as a result of his ‘zero tolerance’ enforcement policy.”
The Post has either declined to outline the legal situation that leads to children being held at the border or misled on the topic.
As other sources have explained, most people who are caught sneaking into the U.S. illegally are processed, tried and sent back within a day. When people who are caught sneaking into the U.S. illegally make a claim for asylum, the process lengthens considerably.
In the past, asylum-seekers were fitted for ankle monitoring bracelets and allowed to live free with their families in the U.S. until their court dates. Nearly 90 percent cut off the ankle bracelets and fail to appear at their hearings.
The change the Trump administration made was to hold those people and their families at the border until their claims were assessed.
It closes an increasingly active loophole: The Post reports that nearly 70 children per day were being detained separately from their parents, and that most people with legitimate asylum claims present themselves at ports of entry rather than trying to sneak across.
Rather, the Post story is a roundup of condemnation.
“All four living former first ladies” condemned the practice as “cruel, inhumane and un-American,” the Post reported, but failed to mention the breakdown: Three are wives of Democratic presidents and the other is a member of the Bush family, which has opposed everything Trump has done since he began his run for office.
The story goes into the “round-the-clock television news coverage, with journalists reporting about their first glimpses of the concrete-floor and metal-cage conditions inside the detention centers.”
It referred to “audio of wailing children published a few hours earlier by ProPublica,” a left-wing-funded operation that exists to attack Trump and conservatives.
Then, citing an anonymous source, the piece reported that “Trump has been closely monitoring the coverage but has been suspicious of it, telling associates he believes that the media cherry-picks the most dramatic images and stories to portray his administration in a negative light, according to one senior administration official.”
“The images in the media contrast with more positive photos that Trump’s aides have shown the president depicting detained children smiling, playing video games and exercising outside, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid.”
It then followed with a roll call of moderate Republicans tut-tutting about the political difficulties of enforcing the nation’s laws.
It quotes Rep. Steve Stivers of Ohio saying the president should “stop needlessly separating children from their families;” Fred Upton of Michigan saying: “It’s never acceptable to use kids as bargaining chips in a political process,” although that happens constantly, and, of course, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, arch-enemy of the president, saying the policy is “an affront to the decency of the American people.”