The US, Nation of Immigrants, Turns on Them

migrant mothers and children head for the US border; a girl cries as border patrol searches her mother

The Trump administration launched a zero-tolerance policy on undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers crossing the southern US border, resulting in mass arrests since early April. The administration rationalized that such arrests justified separating children from parents and placing them in makeshift shelters including tents and abandoned Walmart stores. Audio of children crying, pleading for relatives, and images of children enclosed by chain-link fences have shocked the world. The policy was poorly conceived with little preparation and no plans for family reunification. “Trump’s anti-immigration war is as much a part of his political struggle for the Republican Party to win mid-term elections as his battle against Western liberal order and European Union unity,” writes Susan Froetschel, editor of YaleGlobal Online. “Public outrage along with the practicalities of warehousing thousands of young children forced Trump to back down.” Trump undertakes outrageous policy moves to motivate his most fervent supporters and distract from reports of malfeasance among his staff and campaign. The United States, once a leader on human rights, now inspires hostile anti-immigration movements in Europe and beyond. – YaleGlobal