On Sunday, former first lady Laura Bush took to the pages of The Washington Post to attack the Trump administration’s immigration policy – in particular, the policy that ends with the separation of children from parents after arrest for illegal immigration. Bush was conspicuously silent during the entirety of the Obama administration, but she has spoken out from time to time on the Trump administration: she criticized women who voted for Trump, and she also criticized the administration’s school lunch policy.
I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.
It’s pretty terrible, yes. But the only legal solution right now is to catch-and-release people coming across the border illegally with small children. That’s simply not feasible or smart. But according to Bush, to do anything else is akin to Japanese internment:
Our government should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores or making plans to place them in tent cities in the desert outside of El Paso. These images are eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history. We also know that this treatment inflicts trauma; interned Japanese have been two times as likely to suffer cardiovascular disease or die prematurely than those who were not interned.
To compare imprisonment of criminals with placing innocent American citizens in prison camps is asinine. And were it possible, presumably the Trump administration would place the children of illegal immigrants with those immigrants rather than separating them. For that, Laura Bush should condemn the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that such action was impossible. But Bush stated:
In 2018, can we not as a nation find a kinder, more compassionate and more moral answer to this current crisis? I, for one, believe we can.
We can. It’s an easy legislative fix. The fact that no such fix has been implemented says more about Congress than it does about the Trump administration. And the fact that the media are covering current policy in such emotionally manipulative, anti-factual ways only exacerbates the political divisions that prevent an honest solution.
Michelle Obama responded to Laura Bush’s critique with glee:
In reality, sometimes passion transcends truth. This is one of those times.