Brian Kotowski: Trump is not the first
“If you plan to enter the U.S. illegally, your chances of getting caught and sent back just went up. The actions I’m taking are not only lawful, they’re the kinds of actions taken by every single Republican president and every single Democratic president for the past half-century. And to those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: pass a bill.”
A tone-deaf example of the shocking cruelty and racism being perpetrated by the administration, as delineated in recent letters to the editor. What’s interesting about it is that it’s from an address to the nation by President Barack Obama in 2014 when border detentions were worse, by an order of magnitude, than they are right now.
A number of celebrities and activists made a lot of hay recently by tweeting heartbreaking pictures of kids on concrete floors behind chain link fencing, only to delete those pictures once it was learned they were taken in 2014, and not this past Father’s Day weekend.
It may be useful to review some recent history. Given the brevity enforced upon reader contributions, I’m only able to dial back my starting point 20 years or so.
In 1997 the Supreme Court settled Flores v. Reno, a 9-year suit against the federal government. That decision mandated that unaccompanied minors entering the country illegally must be released.
In 2008, President George W. Bush signed the Wilberforce Act which codified the provisions of Flores v. Reno, principally in response to horrific accounts of untold numbers of unaccompanied illegal minors being released to human traffickers.
In 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeals doubled down on Flores and Wilberforce, and ruled that all illegal minors — accompanied or not — must be released. The reason for that decision was the precipitating event for the Obama speech that begins this letter: “Just a few months earlier, our southern border was flooded by nearly 70,000 unaccompanied minors.”
The Obama administration became the deer in the headlights. In 2009, they had relaxed all family detentions, but had to scrap that policy under the the 2014 flood of illegals. Up went the chain link fencing, and outrage was hard to find.
Separating illegal kids from their parents has been required by law since the Clinton administration, and has only been been officially addressed in the last few days by an executive order signed by President Trump.
As an unrepentant “never-Trumper,” I will never be confused with a fan of Donald J. Trump. But the truth is, this is a dumpster fire he didn’t start. If those who are so outraged now were just as upset four years ago, perhaps those flames wouldn’t be quite as toxic as they are today.
Given the sound of crickets four years ago, I can only regard today’s crusaders as preening hypocrites.
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