“I’ll tell you what we can’t have. It’s these parents sending their kids here on a dangerous journey and putting their lives at risk.” – Barack Obama
It’s like people think they now have license to just lose their minds over everything in this country. We don’t.
Splitting up families is bad. Horrible. That the state has the power to do this at all is a challenge morally, at least for me. But these parents shouldn’t be taking their kids to the border. Fewer places are more dangerous for a child than the southern US border. Lots of nice folks hanging around that piece of real estate.
Plus there is the very real possibility that these children are being trafficked or at the very least being used by an adult who is not their parent. We have no data on this, and perhaps this doesn’t happen, but it seems likely that it would. Especially in a world where documentation of identity is sparse.
This is not a black and white situation. It’s tragic on many levels. But it is not simple.
In 2015, I shook President Obama’s hand, thanked him for DACA, and asked him to reverse course and close the for-profit baby jails (also known as “family detention centers”) he opened in Dilley & Karnes City, Texas. What he said shook me to my core…
Specifically, I told him, “It’s wrong. And it’s going to be a stain on your legacy.” He stopped moving on to the next person in the rope line and looked back at me. I’d gotten his attention.
He turned back, looked at me and “Are you an immigration lawyer?” “Yes”. Just days before, President Obama’s senior immigration policy advisor Cecilia Munoz had received a chilly welcome during her keynote address to the AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) annual conference attendees in National Harbor. She was greeted with silent protest & signs saying “End Family Detention”.
I later learned that her meeting with senior AILA attorneys had been testy to say the least. See, Obama had previously timed great news, like DACA to coincide with the AILA annual conferences. We all watched ecstatic in Nashville in 2012 as he announced it on giant screens.