President Donald Trump’s policy of separating immigrant children from their parents as they seek asylum here mocks the idea that we value families. Unfortunately, the U.S. has a long and sad history of separating children from their parents. For example, the U.S. took American-Indian children from their parents and slave owners broke up black slave families.
Fortunately, the media has provided continuing coverage of Trump’s latest abomination, and the public is expressing outrage about this intolerable and horrific situation. This public outrage is one of the factors that finally caused Trump to end his separation-of-families policy.
Unfortunately, the media has not provided much coverage of the reasons these immigrant families are leaving everything familiar behind and seeking asylum. The media sometimes mentions the horrific violence in Central America without exploring the U.S. role in creating it. Since 1954 when the U.S. supported the illegal coup against the democratically elected Guatemalan government of Jacobo Árbenz, the U.S. has frequently intervened in Central and South America in support of U.S. corporate interests at the expense of the people of these regions.
More recently, the U.S. quickly recognized the results of a 2009 coup in Honduras that ousted democratically elected Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, who was not favored by the U.S. Increasing violence and repression against the Honduran people by the coup government followed almost immediately. Last year, the U.S. recognized the highly disputed re-election of Juan Orlando Hernández as president or Honduras. Meanwhile, the Organization of American States called for a new election because the election process was riddled with irregularities that put the declared outcome in question. Basically, the U.S. supported Hernández as he likely stole the election.
Contrast the public outrage over the separation of families to the relatively little public reaction to the killing of Iraqi children through the U.S./British use of illegal sanctions during the 1990s or through the illegal U.S.-led attack on Iraq beginning in 2003. Perhaps this lack of outrage was partially related to the U.S. media that didn’t highlight these war crimes in a similar way to current coverage of Trump’s horrific and indefensible separations.
One could also comment about the meager media coverage of the killing of children and their families and the U.S. role in these murders in Yemen, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan. Have we as a people become so jaded to the deaths of the other when it is supported by both major political parties? Or is the lack of outrage related to the media’s poor coverage?
Lastly, consider the Israeli treatment of Palestinian children who are forcefully separated from their families and imprisoned, where they are often further abused. Rep. Betty McCollum has introduced H.R. 4391, which would stop U.S. support for Israeli abuse of Palestinian children. Encourage your representative to support this bill.
The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center’s “Peace Train” runs every Friday in the Colorado Daily.