Before leaving the the Department of Homeland Security, John Kelly, a transparently callous person, considered adopting a policy that would separate undocumented children from their parents in an attempt to “deter” immigration.
That plan would have put mothers (and presumably fathers) in detention centers, while their children would have been taken into protective custody.
On Thursday night, The Washington Post reported that DHS was once again weighing a similar policy. Apparently, there is “renewed urgency” within the agency to crackdown on a relatively small uptick in border crossings over the last month:
The most contentious proposal — to separate families in detention — would keep adults in federal custody while sending their children to HHS shelters. This was floated in March by then-Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly, who is now White House chief of staff. He told CNN at the time that the children would be “well cared for as we deal with their parents.”
Kelly ultimately decided against the policy because of the backlash it sparked, but new DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen seems to be warming to the policy. DHS spokesman Tyler Houlton told the Post that some of the new immigration proposals had already been approved and the agency was working “to implement them in the near future.”
Under the current policy, families are typically processed and allowed to remain in the U.S. while their asylum cases are reviewed by the courts.
DHS officials are quite clear on how a policy ripping apart families would be perceived by the general public:
Trump administration officials described the measures as unpalatable but necessarily tough policy options to discourage Central American families from embarking on the long, dangerous journey to the border — or hiring smugglers to bring their children north.
“Unpalatable” might be the understatement of the century.
The White House, by the way, attempted to rebrand “families” with a catchy, new, totally terrifying term this week: