On Wednesday, President Trump utterly undercut the defense of his “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which requires the separation of children from parents, by announcing that he would sign an executive order to end that separation. Trump stated, “We’re going to be signing an executive order in a little while. We’ve got to be keeping families together.” This is likely illegal; the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled about the Obama-era policy of keeping children together with parents that it violated the 1997 Flores settlement. Furthermore, Trump has been claiming for weeks now that it was not within his executive ambit to change that policy. To reverse course and essentially acknowledge — wrongly! —that he can change the policy unilaterally means to grant the argument of the left that this was merely vindictive targeting of children. The problem can truly be solved only with legislative action — and Democrats are fighting against such legislative action for political reasons.
Trump did a press conference in which he stated that the images of children separated from parents “affect everybody,” adding, “We want the heart, but we also want strong borders.” Trump said, “The dilemma is that if you’re weak… the country is going to be overrun with millions of people, and if you’re strong, then you don’t have any heart. That’s a tough dilemma. Perhaps I’d rather be strong, but that’s a tough dilemma.”
Here’s the reality: Trump can’t end the separation of parents at the border without violating existing law. Ironically, the separation policy began thanks to an Obama-era policy of keeping children together with parents — and the Ninth Circuit ruled that violated the Flores agreement and was inhumane. So according to the Left, it’s inhumane to keep kids with parents, and it’s inhumane to separate kids from parents. Which means the only available solution is to release the parents. Of course.