Trump’s Manzanar

A photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows people detained at a facility in McAllen, Texas, on Sunday. Image  here . 

A photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows people detained at a facility in McAllen, Texas, on Sunday. Image here

So, what are we now – Myanmar?

One of my sisters lives there, working for the U.S. State Department and spending all day every day on the Rohingya refugee crisis. These minority Muslims have been ethnically cleansed from the Buddhist country. More than 600,000 live in camps in neighboring Bangladesh.

I’m glad that America abroad is still standing up to human rights abuses, because America at home is busy creating them – setting up detention camps for the children of those trying to cross the southern border illegally for the sole purpose of deterring future crossings. There is no law – no law – that says these children must be separated from their parents. They could be held in family detention centers until they’re processed, as they were in President Barack Obama’s administration.

My uncle blames Obama for this. Obama is the great Bogeyman of the Trumpettes, with whom you cannot reason. I raise my voice. My uncle hangs up the phone on me. But I call back and leave a message on his answering machine, because I am determined to have the last word on this one. I am sick unto death of Obama, immigrants, everyone but Trumpet’s almighty base and shiny new toys (Kim Jong-un, anyone?) being demonized.

As for Trumpet being demonized, well, this detention debacle is on him, his followers and the craven Republicans who won’t stand up to him. Yes, yes, there is a provision that says children can’t be kept with parents who are detained or jailed – which is what my uncle is referring to.

As Sen. Ted Cruz noted:

"You know, you think about it, when someone gets arrested for a crime – let’s say an American citizen gets arrested for a crime, for murder, for burglary, for whatever — if you’re arrested for a crime, you’re separated from your children, you’re put in prison. If you’re the only caregiver for that child, then you’ve got to find alternative care for those children. That is often another family member or, if need be, it’s a foster family or some other means to care for kids. That is the inevitable consequence of somebody being arrested for a crime.

"This is an issue that, I think, the media has largely constructed, because what’s shifted is that the Trump administration is endeavoring if people cross illegally to arrest them, not to let them go – and so if they have kids, you know, there is actually a court order that prevents keeping the kids with the parents when you put the parents in jail."

But these people aren’t criminals. They’re asylum seekers. Yes, some may have actual criminal records or charges against them. And they should be dealt with accordingly. But they are few and far between. The vast majority should be processed as a family unit, either admitted or deported. It’s a false equivalence to compare these people to American citizens who rob stores or deal drugs.

But President Donald J. Trumpet doesn’t care. He obfuscates and deflects to stoke his base with half-truths.

Former first lady Laura Bush, in denouncing kiddie Guantanamo, said the camps reminded her of the Japanese-American internment camps during World War II, places like Manzanar in California.

They were instituted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose astute wife, Eleanor, told him the camps were stupid, immoral and would cost him politically.

The child detention camps are stupid and immoral.

And let’s hope they cost Trump and the Trumpettes politically – big time.