Good news, bad news . . .
The good news is so many Americans are speaking up to express their sadness and outrage about what has been happening at the Texas-Mexico border. The vicious forced separation of children and parents seeking asylum was – and is – a cruel tactic that puts a dark stain on this great country, almost as cruel as ripping slave children away from slave parents. We can only hope the outrage and pressure will continue so such a policy can never be put into practice again.
The bad news – the really bad news – is President Donald Trump first said he hated the ripping of children from their parents’ arms, then he blamed Democrats for it and then finally he signed an executive order for the practice to cease just a day after he said only an act of Congress could overturn the policy. It was a lie within a lie within a lie.
Three people initiated the vicious policy – Trump himself, his attorney general Jeff Sessions and White House senior aide Stephen Miller, who has long been a rabid anti-immigrant rabble-rouser.
It’s doubtful the traumatic damage can be undone. Some of the asylum-seeking adults have been deported back to their countries, without their children, most of whom are being held in unknown places throughout the nation. There was obviously no attempt whatsoever, before the forced separations, to document and to match up for the record which children belonged to which parents and where the children would be kept.
To add insult to injury, once again the president is demonizing immigrants as gang members, killers, rapists, thugs, animals. He offers absolutely no sense of moral leadership, which has been so sorely lacking for the past 18 months.
Yes, we agree something must be done about immigration, legal and illegal. We need a system that is orderly, with clearly defined rules and laws and that treats people longing to be free open-mindedly with compassion and respect rather than suspicion and contempt. In the meantime, the “Dreamers” (those brought here as very young children years ago) are still living with anxiety, wondering if they’ll be able to stay in America.
Those are just some of the reasons why comprehensive firm but fair immigration reform – so long promised but so long delayed by the U.S. Congress – must become priority number one. But, of course, in yet another spiteful, knee-jerk pronouncement, the president told Republicans to forget all about an immigration bill until after the November election.
It’s time the president drops his “I alone can fix it” mantra and starts working with both parties to mend this broken immigration system.
Tearing children from parents’ arms is not the way to do it.
Author: Dennis Dalman
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.