Guest Opinions

Trump’s treatment of children shows America has lost its way

Demonstrators gathered at the Gateway International Bridge in Brownsville, Texas, protesting U.S. immigration policies and the way authorities have handled families crossing the border.
Demonstrators gathered at the Gateway International Bridge in Brownsville, Texas, protesting U.S. immigration policies and the way authorities have handled families crossing the border. The Washington Post

The dominant news since Father’s Day weekend regarding our border crisis was disheartening. Actually, it was disgusting. Our officials from the great state of Idaho need to step up and take a strong position supporting a humane immigration policy.

As the owner of Bestbath, which employs 180 Idahoans in Caldwell, I am ready to speak up. In a democracy, it is our duty to hold our three separate and equal branches of government accountable. They must honor their responsibility of “checks and balances.”

Separating toddlers and young children from their parent(s) and/or guardian(s) in an attempt to gain a negotiating edge in funding “The Wall” is morally corrupt. After separation, these kids are housed in what can easily be termed a jail. The first “tent city” for immigrant children is now filled.

The Executive Order signed by President Trump Wednesday does not materially change reality for the 2,000 plus kids separated from their parents. It seems there is no plan by our federal government to reunite the babies, toddlers, pre-teens and teenagers with their parents or guardians. As usual President Trumps deflects, lies and fails to take responsibility. I have been a registered Republican for many decades. What has and is taking place is a horror instigated by our president.

The government agencies are overwhelmed with the influx of children over the past six weeks. Our federal employees have been asked to implement a policy that puts them in a very difficult position. For a toddler to be separated from parents is inhumane. For a pre-teen and teenager, it is devastating. Inflicting this trauma will have life-long consequences for these children and their families.

There is no law that demands this action be imposed. It was the administration’s decision announced as a policy in April by the embattled attorney general. President Trump is not taking responsibility. And few members of the legislative branch, cowed by the potential of Trump’s ire, will oppose him in public. Elected leaders from both parties need to work together to solve this problem. Politics is the art of compromise.

All five living First Ladies have expressed their dismay. Laura Bush nailed it in a Washington Post opinion piece: Family-separation policy is “cruel and immoral.” First Lady Melania Trump was also clear about her concern that we need to be “a country that governs with heart.”

Our elected leaders from Idaho were reluctant to share their position on this policy, so citizens need to speak up. We should not remain silent. The Japanese Internment Camps during World War II were an example of misguided presidential leadership. The Trump family-separation policy was another example. It did not represent the position of the vast majority of Americans. It was a policy that will be historically identified as a time when America lost its way.

Gary Multanen is chairman of Bestbath Systems in Caldwell, which has about 15 first-generation and 45 to 60 second-generation employees from south of the U.S.-Mexican border.

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