Trump believes family separation and kidnapping children is the most effective border policy.
Trump has been talking since January about finding a way to bring back his family separation policy, according to several senior officials. However, a district judge has repeatedly ruled that the policy is illegal and ordered the Trump administration to must reunite parents with their stolen children.
Yet Trump reportedly wants to ignore court and resume kidnapping children, telling aides he thinks it is the most effective border policy.
This new report came a day after Trump announced the resignation of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. Rumors have long swirled that Nielsen — who oversaw the administration's family separation policy — was not cruel enough for Trump's liking.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it "deeply alarming that the Trump Administration official who put children in cages is reportedly resigning because she is not extreme enough for the White House's liking," in a statement shortly after Nielsen's resignation was announced.
Nielsen vigorously defended the Trump administration's family separation policy while it was happening, even as she initially lied about the existence of such a policy. The whole point of the policy, according to Trump, was cruelty. In his zeal to decrease immigration along the southern border, Trump wanted to use the pain of families being ripped apart to discourage other families from trying to come to the United States.
After implementing the policy, the Trump administration had to build baby jails to detain infants and toddlers. At one point, Nielsen defended tossing kids into cages, saying the pens they used to corral children were larger than dog cages.
And the family separation policy did indeed cause significant pain. The Trump administration ignored warnings that separating children from their parents risked "traumatic psychological injury to the child." In addition to the psychological harm, some of the child detention centers were found to be drugging and starving the kidnapped children in their custody. Some children were even housed in unlicensed facilities.
In at least one instance, a toddler died shortly after being released from a detention facility.
The United Nations Human Rights Council said the policy "may amount to torture." Actor George Takei, a survivor of World War II-era Japanese internment camps, said Trump's family separation policy is worse.
"At least during the internment of Japanese-Americans, I and other children were not stripped from our parents," Takei wrote in June 2018. "We were not pulled screaming from our mothers' arms. We were not left to change the diapers of younger children by ourselves."
Michael Hayden, a retired four-star general who formerly headed the CIA, compared Trump's policy to Nazi Germany.
In a court filing last week, lawyers for the Trump administration said it could take one to two years to track down and reunite all the children who have already been taken from their families.
Yet Trump is looking for a way to reinstate this unconscionable and illegal practice, likely creating even more chaos and crisis and inflicting more harm on children and their families.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.