I called my Congressman, (NY-23rd) Tom Reed’s office last week and complained vociferously about his cowardly statement about the young children being separated from their mothers at the US border. The statement from his website, June 19, 2018:
“We care about these children being separated from their parents. These kids are unfortunate bystanders to a long-standing epidemic of weak border security and outdated laws. Congress must act in this week’s immigration reform bill to change the law so that children are not ripped from their parents’ arms, but provided a fair and compassionate solution to this heart-wrenching issue.”
(Bold face is mine.)
I suggested to Reed’s assistant that this statement was weak and inaccurate (well, ok, I think I called Reed a “pussy”). At any rate, Mr Reed sent me a response by email (I assume it was a form letter sent out to his constituents and not a personal response). In this latest mailing he says, in part:
“…On June 27, 2018 I voted in support of the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018 that would end this practice of separation, and would allow children to be held with their parents in family facilities. Congress must pass legislation to solve this crisis at our southern border. Current law and court settlements require that children not be held in the same detention centers that adults are held in while they await court proceedings. This means that, under current law, the children of parents who are waiting on legal proceedings cannot be held with their parents. We must work together to fix our immigration system and close the loopholes that allow tragedies like this to take place….”
(Bold face mine).
So. Let’s dissect this.
According to Reed the separation of children and their parents at the border is required by law. He cites no law. He cites no section of any law. He cites nothing. He simply echoes the lies tweeted by Donald Trump. Which is no surprise, since Reed was an early supporter and campaign organizer for Trump in NY.
Why does he not cite any specific law? And a fact check tells us why. According to independent fact checker website Snopes:
“…There is no federal law that stipulates that children and parents be separated at the border, no matter how families entered the United States. An increase in child detainees separated from parents stemmed directly from a change in enforcement policy repeatedly announced by Sessions in April and May 2018, under which adults (with or without children) are criminally prosecuted for attempting to enter the United States:…
“…However, neither the 1997 Flores settlement nor a 2008 human trafficking law cited in that release in any way stipulated that the government separate children from their parents:…
“…A cluster of rumors about the controversial separation of families at the border held that the policy came before the Trump administration, either stemming from a 1997 “law” or purported policies of previous administrations. Those claims were false. No federal law required or suggested the family separation policy announced by Attorney General Sessions in several sets of remarks during April and May 2018....”
So, while Tom Reed and President Trump claim that the ripping of children from their parents is a problem of the law, that is simply not the case. It is an executive decision made by the President. He chose to implement this nasty policy. And Tom Reed chooses to give him cover.
Tom acts as though this horrible situation is just, uh, well, the law. Which it isn’t. President Clinton did not do this. Bush did not do this. Obama did not do this. Why not? Because it is not the law. It is a very repulsive executive decision.
Final point. Just this week President Trump relented and ended the policy . Or at least he said so. Did Trump violate the law ?
Well, Tom, if this was a law mandated by Congress how can Trump unilaterally just change it? A question I intend to ask next week when I call again.
Reed is one of those Trump politicians who talks the very moderate talk on TV. He is pushing his “brand” as one of the “Problem Solvers”. Then he votes against families, the poor, workers, SNAP and health care.
Now, he double talks about who created the mess of the toddlers from the border who, in his words , “…are …ripped from their parents’ hands…”