In an early Mother’s Day gift to the world, on May 7 Attorney General Jeff Sessions scored a tremendous victory in the GOP’s war against families and the rule of law in the United States. Sessions announced a “zero tolerance” policy for people who enter the U.S. without documentation; henceforth, all undocumented adult immigrants will be prosecuted by the U.S. “Department of Justice.” [sic] This policy makes no accommodations for refugees fleeing poverty and the often extreme violence of their homelands – violence the U.S. is partially responsible for creating.
If you cross this border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. It’s that simple. If you smuggle illegal aliens across our border, then we will prosecute you. If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law.” – Jeff Session
In case one worries Mr. Sessions won’t really practice what he is preaching, The New York Times reports that “more than 700 children have been taken from adults claiming to be their parents since last October, including more than 100 children under the age of 4.” According to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, despite what many assume this willful destruction of families is not cruel and heartless because, “The children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever.”
“America has begun a spiritual reawakening. Faith and hope are being restored. Americans are turning back to God.” – Ronald Reagan
At first glance, tearing apart families may appear to be a strange avocation for an Attorney General whom Evangelical Christian leaders call “a wonderful believer,” who is “on fire for Christ.” However, given the new DOJ policy of ripping children out of the arms of their refugee parents, one must ask – which parts of the Bible does the GOP still believe in?
- Psalm 82:3-4 seems to be out. (“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy.”)
- Proverbs 24:11 no longer seems to cut the mustard (“Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.)
- Ephesians 4:32 can be scratched off. (“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”)
- Hebrews 13:1-2 doesn’t seem like Mr. Sessions’ thing anymore. (“Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”)
- Matthew 25:35 is clearly not kindling Jesus’ fire in the DOJ these days. (“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”)
- Leviticus 19:33-34 must have been written by a Hillary-Obama-Islamo-Fascist. (“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”)
We need to recognize the attack Mr. Sessions launched last Monday is not the act of a political renegade, but rather the latest salvo in the GOP’s war on traditional Christian values and the integrity of the family. In the last several years the party, which claims its economic and social policies “should always promote and strengthen that most sacred [family] bond,” has endorsed a candidate accused of sexually assaulting children, passed laws to make the rich richer and the poor poorer, ceaselessly attacked programs that provide health care and social security to the most vulnerable Americans, opposed a constitutional amendment guaranteeing equal rights between men and women, and threatened to criminally prosecute people who help refugees. By doing so the GOP has exposed themselves as much more interested in breaking families apart than bringing them together.
“We are going to restore the rule of law in the United States.” – Donald Trump
The GOP has long cast its position on immigration as an example of its fealty to the rule of law. However, much like its practice of turning the other cheek to biblical passages it finds politically inconvenient, the GOP habitually skips over the U.S. Constitution when it thunders on about which laws it thinks should actually dictate immigration policy.
Article VI Sec. 2 states,
“This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.” (emphasis added)
Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the U.S. ratified in 1992, prohibits our government from arbitrarily arresting and detaining anyone, including refugees and asylum-seekers. The U.S. is also party to the 1967 protocol of the 1951 U.N. Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which states in Article 33 that member nations must not return refugees to places where their “life or freedom” would be threatened. Additionally, U.S. law requires immigration officers to refer refugees who seek asylum to an interview with an asylum officer before they can be deported. In 2017, Amnesty International issued a report documenting numerous incidents of Border Patrol agents telling refugees they cannot apply for asylum in the United States, and needed to “go back to Mexico.” Finally, while the U.S. has not ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (nothing says “New Wold Order” more that human rights for kids), we are a signatory to that treaty, which obliges nations to act in the best interests of children. Suffice it to say any government policy that forcibly separates children from parents is not in the best interests of either, and happens to be illegal under international law, U.S. statutory law, and the Constitution of the United States.
“And I heard, as it were, the noise of thunder
One of the four beasts saying,
“Come and see,” and I saw, and behold a white horse.” – Johnny Cash
In the purest distillation of ironic tragedy, the GOP’s war on Christian family values and the rule of law is quickening a functional end of days for the war’s victims. VOX estimates that the Trump administration’s monomaniacal focus on the persecution of refugees will, by January 2020, turn almost 400,000 people legally present in the U.S. into undocumented immigrants, vulnerable to forced deportation and the destruction of their families. These 400,000 men, women, and children are refugees from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, who fled violence and natural disasters in their homelands and have been allowed to legally live and work in the U.S. – for more than 20 years in some cases – under the Temporary Protected Status Program. In a development that will surprise no one, the Trump Administration has broken with previous administrations, and chosen to end TPSP rather than extend it.
This choice illuminates the fantastic hypocrisy of the GOP’s lip service to family values and the rule of law. Under Trump, the Republican party no longer cares how many families it breaks apart or how many laws it violates, if doing so allows it to demonize and persecute even one more refugee. This choice does not seem very Christ-like.
– Joel Feinman