In this photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, people who have been taken into custody related to cases of illegal entry into the United States sit in one of the cages at a facility in McAllen, Texas on Sunday. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Rio Grande Valley Sector via AP
Is the United States government intentionally separating migrant children from their parents or not? And should it be?
There you have the most contentious issue in U.S. politics over the last few weeks. It’s so contentious that neither President Donald Trump’s plan to create a legion of space cadets, nor his quip that Americans should obey him like North Koreans obey dictator Kim Jong Un, has been able to bump these children from the headlines.
Maybe our attention spans have increased. Wouldn’t that be amazing?
But even for those who have been paying attention all along, it’s hard to know what is true and what isn’t — you know, what with the fake news and all, and administration officials who don’t seem to be able to keep their stories straight. Shouting and partisan posturing on both sides don’t help, either.
Here’s what we know so far and can be stated with some certainty:
• In early April, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announced a “zero-tolerance” policy for people who cross the U.S.-Mexican border illegally.
• Following implementation of that policy, the Department of Homeland Security confirmed Friday that almost 2,000 children were separated from their families between April 19 through May 31.
Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen have defended the Trump administration’s enforcement of the “zero-tolerance” policy.
Last Thursday, Sessions described its biblical justification: “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order,” he said.
Late Sunday, however, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen tweeted: “We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period.”
“For those seeking asylum at ports of entry, we have continued the policy from previous Administrations and will only separate if the child is in danger, there is no custodial relationship between ‘family’ members, or if the adult has broken a law,” Nielsen added.
And yet there are thousands of children in…