Nearly 2,000 undocumented children have been taken away from their parents in just a a six-week time frame, according to the Associated Press (AP).
The AP reported on Friday that 1,995 minors were taken away from 1,940 adults between April 19 and May 31, when the Trump administration rolled out its controversial new policy of taking children away from parents as a means of deterring future asylum seekers from sneaking across the U.S. border.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently justified taking children away from their parents by citing the Book of Romans in the New Testament of The Bible. However, as historian John Fea pointed out, that specific scripture was also used by proponents of slavery to defend the institution of treating human beings like chattel, and by loyalists who opposed the American Revolution against British rule in the 18th century:
Academic @JohnFea1 notes the two major uses of Romans 13 in American history:
1. Those who opposed the American Revolution.
— Jack Jenkins (@jackmjenkins) June 15, 2018
The Trump administration recently announced that the children who have been taken away from their parents will be placed in a “tent city” in Tornillo, Texas, near the Mexico/U.S. border close to El Paso. As Grit Post recently reported, the idea of a “tent city” for undocumented children may have been inspired by Trump supporter Joe Arpaio — the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona — who erected a tent city of his own in which undocumented detainees were routinely subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.
Religious groups have pushed back against the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, including the Evangelical Immigration Table, which advocates for “immigration reform consistent with biblical values.” The group recently wrote a letter to the administration asking for children to only be separated “in the rarest of instances.”
“The traumatic effects of this separation on these young children, which could be devastating and long-lasting, are of utmost concern,” the letter read.
President Trump blamed Democrats for his administration’s policy of separating families at the border, saying the law could supposedly be changed “right now.” However, the Associated Press said that no such law exists, and that the “zero tolerance” policy was implemented under his own leadership. The AP also reminded readers that Republicans — who support the “zero tolerance” policy — have control of both houses of Congress, and that if such a law existed, the onus to change the law would be on Republicans.
Logan Espinoza is a freelance contributor specializing in economic issues. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and daughter. Contact him at logan DOT espinoza AT yahoo DOT com.