Why A Rogue President Was Forced To Back Down On Family Separation (The New Yorker link): Why did Donald Trump reverse himself on Wednesday and call an end to his policy of separating migrant families detained at the southern border? It was clear from the start that the policy was cruel, heartless, and unnecessary. Although there has been a spike in the number of asylum seekers in recent months, the overall number of undocumented immigrants coming into the United States from Mexico and other Latin American countries is significantly lower than it was a decade ago. There is no “crisis” at the southern border, except the humanitarian one of Trump’s own making. Trump’s picture of the United States being swamped—or, in his words, “infested”—by Latino migrants is a fantasy that he concocted to whip up the racial fears and antipathies of his core supporters.
At most, this was a very partial U-turn. If Trump’s executive order survives the inevitable legal challenges, which is far from certain, it will keep more than two thousand children away from their parents, and it could well lead to the creation of a chain of semi-permanent refugee camps on the southern border. Trump only went this far because he was facing a public relations disaster and a rebellion from Republicans fearful of losing control of Congress in the midterms.
A Quinnipiac University opinion poll that was released earlier this week indicated that Americans opposed the child-separation policy by an overwhelming margin of more than two to one. Only a majority of Republicans supported the policy. As The Atlantic’s Ronald Brownstein pointed out, on Twitter, white, non-college-educated white women, a key voting group for the G.O.P., were opposed to the policy by the whopping margin of fifty-six per cent to thirty per cent. And this poll was taken before the latest reports and pictures from inside the child-detention centers.
The Trump administration misspelled “separation” in an executive order on family separation (Vox link): The Trump administration released its highly anticipated executive order on family separation Wednesday afternoon. And in the grand tradition of many Trump White House documents, something wasn’t quite right. See if you can spot it:
While the misspelling was quickly fixed, the latest example of the Trump administration’s ongoing struggles in that domain (see: the Department of Education Snapchat) left the impression that the executive order had been prepared hastily.
The White House’s executive order addresses the administration’s controversial “zero tolerance” policy that criminally prosecutes all adults entering the United States illegally. As part of this policy, adults were held in federal jail while awaiting trial and their children were put in federal custody, forcing family separations.
Trump administration officials have repeatedly insisted that the family separation policy they implemented over the last six weeks is humane. But the ongoing lawsuit over the Flores agreement, a 1997 settlement that partly governs the detention of child migrants that the White House hopes to overturn, alleges a litany of wrongdoings at the ORR-contracted facilities.
The drugging allegations are among the most disturbing. One child cited in the lawsuit reported taking up to nine pills in the morning and another seven in the evening, without knowing what the medication was.
“ORR routinely administers children psychotropic drugs without lawful authorization,” a memo filed in the lawsuit on April 16 reads. “When youth object to taking such medications, ORR compels them. ORR neither requires nor asks for a parent’s consent before medicating a child, nor does it seek lawful authority to consent in parents’ stead. Instead, ORR or facility staff sign ‘consent’ forms anointing themselves with ‘authority’ to administer psychotropic drugs to confined children.”
While appearing Tuesday on Fox News, former senior Democratic National Committee adviser Zac Petkanas shared an anecdote he had read about "a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome" who had been "taken from her mother and put in a cage."
"Womp Womp," the former Trump campaign manager responded.
Lewandowski refused to apologize for the remark when asked about it on Fox News Wednesday morning.
The encounter took place on Sunday at Espita Mezcaleria. The Post reports that a patron of the restaurant called out Miller — an immigration hardliner — over the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy that separates migrant families.
“Hey look guys, whoever thought we’d be in a restaurant with a real-life fascist begging [for] money for new cages?” a customer said to Miller, according to the Post.
Miller reportedly did not respond to the hecklers.
The incident occurred just a few days before activists similarly interrupted Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen's dinner at a Mexican restaurant, resulting in her leaving the restaurant.
The group repeatedly yelled “shame” at Nielsen and “End Texas concentration camps.”
Federal officials acknowledged last month that nearly 1,500 unaccompanied minors arrived on the southern border alone without their parents and were placed with sponsors who did not keep in touch with federal officials, but those numbers were only a snapshot of a three- month period during the last fiscal year. “There is a lot more,” said a field specialist who worked in the Office of Refugee Resettlement until earlier this year and was tasked with reaching out to sponsors and children to check on their well-being. “You can bet that the numbers are higher. It doesn’t really give you a real picture.”
The new estimate comes as backlash widens over President Donald Trump's' decision to separate parents and children. Advocates argue the growing numbers of unaccounted children should be expected as families and sponsors become more fearful of federal officials that is now using information from government social workers to run immigration checks and, in some cases, target sponsors, including parents and family members, for removal.
"Was that a man or a woman? Because he needs a haircut more than I do," Trump joked as the protester was escorted out of the Duluth event. "I couldn't tell. Needs a haircut." The protester appeared to hold a picture of Trump with another person. Trump also told the protester to "go home to your mom, darling. Go home." The crowd chanted "USA" as the demonstrator was escorted out of the crowd.
The rally came just hours after Trump signed an executive order that aims to stop family separations on the border while still maintaining a "zero tolerance" policy to prosecute all illegal immigrants. The Trump administration faced harsh, bipartisan backlash over the policy, which resulted in the separation of more than 2,000 children of adult illegal immigrants in the past month. The scope of the order, however, did not address how the already-separated children would be reunited with their parents.