President Donald Trump’s surprising about face this week led to a rare occurrence — some faint praise from political opponents, however tempered it might have been.
Trump reversed a government policy to remove children from their parents when families are apprehended entering the border illegally. Although he said it has been the policy for a decade, detractors said it was never enforced until recently.
After heart-wrenching photos of youngsters being forcibly removed from the arms of their parents, Trump issued an executive order he says will end the practice (see accompanying article in this section).
“I think the executive order is a step in the right direction. The public outrage in response to family separation was compelling and overwhelming. The president listened,” said NYS Assemblyman Fred Thiele. Just days earlier, Thiele issued an impassioned plea to the federal government to keep the families together.
“We’ve seen crying children separated from their parents and housed in abandoned stores with no one there to hold them and tell them that everything will be alright. We’ve heard their piercing wails as they beg the authorities to reunite them with their mom and dad,” said Thiele.
New York Senator Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urging authorities to act quickly to undo the damage caused to displaced youngsters.
“It seems that the administration lacks a plan, intention, and a sense of urgency to begin reuniting these children — many of whom have suffered serious emotional anguish — with their parents,” their joint press release read.
One Democrat who was not mollified by the executive order was NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has been a vocal opponent of this administration’s immigration strategy from the outset.
Cuomo called Trump’s executive order, which was reported as reversing the controversial practice of separating illegal immigrant families, “a sham that changed nothing.” Cuomo also called on the federal government to provide him with the number of immigrant children being held in foster care facilities in New York and where they are located, so the state can provide the children with mental health and other health services they may need.
The real work, Trump, Schumer, and others agreed, is to push through a concise immigration package that will be approved by both parties and then implement it in a timely manner.
“No one should get into the country who doesn’t meet the legal needs, but you don’t have to separate parents from children while adjudication is occurring,” Schumer said.
“The real question is: how will this order be implemented?” Thiele said. “The order is nothing but a piece of paper without proper implementation. How will already separated families be reunited? How will families that are detained in the future be processed?”