An infant crying in the night:
An infant crying for the light:
And with no language but a cry.
—Alfred, Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam
It was only a coincidence. Two days before Christmas there was a story in the New York Times with the ominous headline: “Out of Chaos, Trump Reshapes Immigration.” It described a meeting that took place in the Oval Office in June in which the Resident Fool arrived late, furious about the number of foreigners who had entered the country since his inauguration. Their entry, he said, made a mockery of his pledge to reduce that number. Indeed, he reported to the assembled group, friends were calling him to say that he looked like a fool. (The friends were referring to the number of immigrants entering the country in defiance of his campaign promises, and not speaking more generally about his demeanor and behavior.)
The coincidence was this. That story appeared just two days after another story had appeared that described how the Trumpeters had figured out how to control thought in the United States by prohibiting the use of certain words in budget submissions. The restriction was imposed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in early December. That agency banned the use of certain words such as “fetus,” “transgender,” and five other words in budget documents prepared by its staff. Always creative, the Trumpeters have now come up with a brand new idea on how to control illegal immigration. That proposal rivals, in its creativity, the action of the CDC.
According to the report in the New York Times, the new proposal changes the way in which undocumented immigrant families are dealt with upon their arrival in Trumpville. In the past, mothers, fathers, and children arriving in the United States illegally, were either kept together in special family detention centers while awaiting the decision as to whether they could stay or were to be returned home immediately, or were released pending a court date. Under the proposed policy, instead of keeping the family together under one of those procedures, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has proposed a new procedure that has been approved by the Department of Homeland Security, and is awaiting final approval from its new ruler, Kirstjen Nielsen. The proposal is so simple it is a wonder no one has thought of it before now. Here is how it works.
Undocumented immigrant families arriving in the United States will be broken up. Children will be taken from their parents and placed in facilities designed to hold children. The parents will be sent to different facilities to await the outcome of their efforts to stay in the United States.
As with the ban on language, the first question that presented itself to the curious observer was whether the Trump was inspired by what the Nazis had done in the '30s and '40s. The Nazis, when placing families in concentration camps, frequently separated children from their parents. Of course the problem the Nazis were trying to solve had nothing to do with controlling illegal immigration, so this newly Trumped-up idea was apparently thought up whole cloth by one of the many Trumpeters who are now running the country. An example of how the program works in practice was given by the New York Times describing what happened to José Fuentes.
José fled from El Salvador in 2017 together with his 1-year old son, Mateo. He left behind his wife, Olivia and their 4-year old son. When he turned himself in to immigration officers upon his arrival in the United States, he and Mateo were held together for four days by immigration officers. At the end of the four-day period, the new policy was implemented. José was transferred to a detention center in San Diego, California, 1,000 miles from where he’d turned himself in. His 1-year old son (who in all likelihood had never before been separated from his parents), was placed in a facility for children in Laredo, Texas. For the next six days José and his wife desperately tried to find out where their 1-year old son was being held.
Olivia was finally able to locate him and have a video call with him. According to Olivia, the 1-year old cried throughout the entire conversation. The crying is easy to understand since a 1-year old not only has a very limited vocabulary but would have difficulty understanding that his separation from his parents occurred so that the United States could implement a sensible immigration policy. His failure to understand that is no different from the failure of most of the people in this country to believe that the country they all knew and loved, before the advent of the White House Fool, would even for a moment consider such inhumane behavior. Who knows what other surprises the Fool has in store for us?