This past week, as the media war with the president heated up, reporters bungled several major news stories by combining separate, distinct stories, into one. The combination had much to do with playing gotcha against President Trump.
The first story involved the release of a report about what happened to unaccompanied minors who had journeyed to our southern border. Traveling without family, those detained by immigration services and not sent home were placed in a foster program. Investigators have concluded that a sizable number of those children were abused and some were trafficked into sex slavery.
The media blew up this story until realizing the investigation and report related to the Obama administration. The investigated period ended in 2014. Some reporters and Obama administration veterans deleted their social media posts highlighting the story once people realized it happened during the Obama years. That raises the question of whether they are concerned about sex abuse against children, or whether they are only concerned if it hurts Trump.
The second story involved the government losing 1,500 illegal alien children, also unaccompanied minors who came here without parents. The story is actually far more nuanced than most press reports. Immigration services worked to place those children with their American families, repatriate those they could, and placed others with sponsor families. In all of the cases, once placed, the immigration officials were under no further obligation to check on the kids. The families could self-report on the children, but some did not. Those 1,500 children are not lost in America, but were placed into families and the government stopped checking on them. Again, it is worth emphasizing that the overwhelming majority were placed with blood relatives living in the United States. It is also worth emphasizing that the time period in question involved the Obama administration.
The third story making waves is President Trump’s decision to separate illegal alien children from their parents at the border. President Barack Obama did this too. But most often his administration did it to verify that the children and parents were actually related. What had been the exception in the Obama administration will be the rule for the Trump administration.
The Trump administration describes its decision to take children from parents as one to discourage parents from coming illegally into the United States. Normalizing what Obama did sporadically is not a good idea. We know about the child abuse situation during the Obama years. We know that some children were trafficked by predators. We also know that the underlying bureaucratic checks and processes have not been improved by the Trump administration. This is a bad idea.
Pro-life activists who get upset by the idea of tearing a child from his mother’s womb should equally be upset by the idea of tearing a child from his mother’s arms. If this policy is meant to discourage illegal immigration, perhaps it would be better to drop pamphlets over Mexico declaring the government’s intention to kill the children. After all, killing the kids would be an even better deterrent. At this point, we are just arguing over the extent of the evil being used to respond to illegality.
The better solution is two-fold. First, build a wall. Second, the president should use the arsenal of democracy and a resurrected Monroe Doctrine to both challenge Chinese investment in Central America and work to stabilize the region. The situation south of our border is a national security issue and the instability is why so many families are fleeing to the United States. Stabilizing Central America will help secure our border.